Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Panasonic Outclasses Apple

Panasonic just released a new series (its 5th) of its "Let's Note" laptops in Japan, according to Akihabara News. I think some version of these may end up in the US at some point. In Japan they range from the 14.1" Y5, to the 12" W5 & T5, to the diminutive 10.4" R5. The Y5 weighs in at an incredible 1.5kg, lighter than my 12" G4 Powerbook, and sports a 1.5GHz IntelCore Duo. The T5 is just about 1kg and is powered by 1.06Gz Core Solo. These are tough machines, as the keyboards are waterproof and can take 100kg pressure. They also have a 7-9 hour battery life. The Panasonic Japan website has more stats, but in Japanese.

Apple's two MacBook Pros have faster processors (1.83-2.16Ghz), but are heavier (2.5 and 3.1kg) with bigger screens. The much rumored Intel iBook (or MacBook?) is thought to have a 13" screen, but I'm not sure we can count on Apple to make it light enough. Light laptops are in demand, especially in Japan.

Please, Apple, stop wasting time with giant laptops (like the 17" MBP) that are not really portable, and put some resources into making a laptop small enough to compete head-to-head with the myriad of small Windoze laptops on the market now. Even 2kg is too big!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

BlogZot 2.0 - Get SubEthaEdit for free?

Check out BLOGZOT 2.0 on to reduce the price of SubEthaEdit from CodingMonkeys from $30 by 5 cents for every blog citation.

Like AppZapper, the price could go to $0 if enough blogs give them a shout out. In essence, MacZOT and TheCodingMonkeys will award $105,000 in Mac software if we can reduce the price to $0.

SubEthaEdit is an app that allows you to collaborate on a text document in real time. I've never used it, but I'd like to give it a try.

17" MacBook Pro Released.... whoopee.

Well, Apple dribbled out a product in uncharacteristically low key style today. They released their aircraft carrier-sized PowerBook in it's Intel format, the 17" MacBook Pro, at the NAB conference.

Reaction to the new Mac has been a bit muted, and it's not clear why. Perhaps folks expected this one to come out anyway, or the rather low key venue for the announcement limited our expectations considerably. However, I feel the best explanation is that nobody was too excited about this over sized laptop - hoping for a 13 incher instead.

I've said it before, Apple needs to focus on making a laptop as small and functional as the tiny 1kG offerings from Panasonic, Sony and other PC makers. Making big boats like the 17" doesn't address this glaring hole in Apple's line-up.

I don't think it's a mystery why Mac sales in Japan have plummeted 20% in the last quarter.

Make 'em small, Apple, and make 'em quick.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Stop the Hipocrisy

I didn't intend to be overly political in this blog, but I want to get on my soapbox long enough to ask people to join my BOYCOTT of YAHOO.

The deal is this: Reporters without Borders is reporting yet another journalist was turned in to the Chinese government for his online prodemocracy postings. This is the THIRD time Yahoo has been implicated in this, and I wouldn't be surprised if there are more cases.

Frankly, I'm fed up. All internet companies operating in China participate to some degree with the censorship of internet searches and content - a very disgusting practice. However, only Yahoo! has been implicated in helping the PRC track down its supposed dissident journalists. I think this is reprehensible behavior, and I urge all of you to completely stop the use of all Yahoo email and web services.

After the first such report, I stopped all use of Yahoo search engines and removed Yahoo Widgets (formerly called Konfabulator) from all of my computers. I also refuse to use or recommend Flickr (a Yahoo owned service) as well as any Yahoo! email account.

Sure, it's bad enough that companies like Google and MSN join Yahoo in censoring internet content - but at least they aren't collaborating with these bastards in jailing people who disagree with their government.

And I just don't get this sack-less, hands-off treatment the world is giving China. If they intend to be regarded as a world-class power, they should start acting like one. Sure, I'm just as critical of the US for their abuse of free-speech and privacy rights and outright colonialism. But even now, the US is bending over backwards to these S*Bs, suppressing the free-speech rights of a woman and a reporter in the presence of the visiting Hu Jintao - in the US! WTF!

I cannot accept that the US and other G7 nations would continue to look the other way on China, just because of the economic opportunities this totalitarian state provides corporations. I cannot accept that China was granted the rights to the Olympics or deserves any level of respect by responsible governments and companies until they change their ways. It is truly absurd to think otherwise.

Remember, this is the government that murdered thousands of their own people in Tianamen square in 1989, leads the world in capital punishment, has destroyed much of their farmland and waterways for the economic benefit of the few, promotes the enslavement of the peasant class (population majority) in factories, and continues to threaten the only real Chinese democracy - Taiwan. I could go on.

Enough is enough!

Join my Yahoo! boycott, and at least push for responsible behavior by the tech industry.

OK, off my soapbox for now.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Apple Japan Struggling?

A lot has been made of Apple's resurgence in sales, particularly that they have ridden proverbial backs of its iPod products. People everywhere are talking about switching, and I keep hearing my fellow gaijin here in Japan, contemplating the same thing. With Apple's new Intel line arriving and expanding, you'd think that Apple was improving on all fronts.

However, I was surprised by one sales figure reported in Apple's Q2 report by AppleInsider: weak Mac sales in Japan.

Overall, Apple sold about 1.1 million Macs, and a 4% increase in units sold. About 0.6 million were desktops and 0.5 million were laptops.

Mac sales in the US were about 0.5 million Macs (4% increase), Europe - 0.3 million (14% increase), but in Japan, Apple only sold 82,000 Macs for a TWENTY % decrease!

Wow! Can you say, "Lackluster"?

The only thing that makes up for the loss in sales is that revenues were up 9% in Japan - but this figure includes all things sold by Apple, and I'd guess it reflects an increase in iPod sales.

I really have to wonder about the Japan sales figures, and sort of think that the problem may be one I touched on before - a lack of truly lightweight laptops that appeal to Japanese customers, and women in particular.

Wake up Apple! Get that iBook replacement out soon, or expect more hits on your sales.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Three Macs in a Sea of Windows Muck

This past weekend, I had to attend an academic conference for science instructors at my university. It was one of those things I didn't really want to do, because it forced me to double up my teaching schedule and ended up nailing me with a freaking head cold. However, I did walk away with some interesting impressions about how we used computers both at the conferences and in our jobs.

Our school is transitioning to an online system for grading, which uses the same web system (WebTycho) that we teach DE (online) courses. I don't teach online, and want nothing to do with it, but I'm forced to use the grading system. WebTycho doesn't work well with Safari, but seems to work with FireFox - mostly. Sort of. I need to download some software via a university link in Tycho, but I couldn't get it, because I could only access it from a page I couldn't actually see - because I don't teach any DE classes. (>_<)


Much of the conference time was devoted to revising guidelines for lab courses, and even a lab manual for one course to replace a textboot. So, we had people distributed about the room at different tables with school-provided laptops, and our personal machines. There was a wireless LAN we could access with Airport, but it was quite slow at times.

There were two other Mac users there - "Y " (who I've known since I started teaching here, and currently uses a 12"PB like me on the road) and "G" (who is around 50 and just bought a new MacBookPro to replace her hingeless Titanium). Y is an experienced user, and recently sold off his older 17" and 15" PBs, and replaced them with a 12" and a new intel Mini. He and I swapped some files, but we had difficulty because of my lack of HD space. We moved a few by USB thumb drive, and copied the rest to CDRs. We found burning CDs to be a big time drain too. It was interesting that he used a firewall, and I didn't. This was a bit problematic when we were checking out each others' music catalog via iTunes sharing. Y worked with a different work group, but we shared the same table. I also contributed some stuff to their group. But rather than sharing our Macs' folders, we used my thumbdrive. This surprised me in hindsight, as sharing via network is easy to me. However, maybe he had reasons to protect access to his Mac.

G and I worked together on guidelines for Marine Bio Lab, so it was fortunate that we both had Macs. G has used Macs for several years, but wasn't very computer savvy. She had just purchased her MacBook two days prior, and was having some transition issues. She couldn't figure out why the trial version of MS Office kept opening when she double-clicked on any Word doc. It turned out that someone had moved her apps from her old TiBook to her new MacBook with Migration Assistant, and that she had been running Office X. She didn't realize Office had been updated, and balked when I suggest she buy a copy. But she kept working with the trial version, even though the notice to have her buy Office 2004 kept popping up. Finally, on the second day, she asked me to "make that annoying notice go away". I could have used the finder to change application prefs for .doc files, but I thought it would be better to delete the trial version. When I tried to explain what I wanted to do, she wasn't interested in the details. So I did it.

Ironically, I showed my inability to use the MacBook's trackpad whenever I tried to use her machine. I'm not sure if it was the settings, or this new version of the trackpad - but I couldn't drag anything properly, and everytime I touched it - it "double-clicked" whatever was under the pointer. I did share my Mac's user files with Y, and moved a Word doc to her Mac from of my docs folder. However, she was clueless how to do this herself, and rather than spend time to do it a second time when we need to, I handed her a USB thumb drive to move the file back to my machine for the final edit. I also tried to install 'Drop Copy' on her machine from my machine, but when I tried to drag a copy of the app to my thumb drive - the app wouldn't move there. Perhaps this is a safety feature in the Mac OS? Regardless, it surprised me.

So, it was striking that though both these folks had very different levels of Mac expertise, I ended up moving files the same way - by USB thumb drive and burning copies to CD.

Integrating with the Windows stuff was not simple. Many of the laptops showed up on the network list, but the networked printer (a Richoh) did not. In fact, I tried to find the printer via IP and AppleTalk, but couldn't see it listed. Many of the Windows users, however, also could not find the printer. This surprised me, as adding networked printers via the Printing Prefs usually works for me. I suppose this Ricoh model was not compatible with Macs or via a network.

We had to quickly present our guidelines via a LCD projector towards the end of the second day. The projector looked old, so I figured it might not work with my PB. So, I put the file we needed to show on the thumbdrive and inserted it into the USB slot. First, it took forever to find it, then started cataloging all the MP3 files on it without asking!! I cancelled it, but struggled, as this laptop's buttons and nipple pointer did not work properly. This happened 3 times, before I could open my Word file. I even started to get jeers from the Windows group, until someone explained that everyone had the same problem with it. After finally getting my file up, I started to regret not plugging my laptop into the projector.

Windows users were also pretty ignorant about some of the things their own OS and machines could do - like recording sounds in PowerPoint. When we discussed student papers and I mentioned I require all to be in PDF format - one of the IT guys complained that would necessitate all students to purchase Acrobat. This pissed me off, as these guys should have known about the free apps (e.g., PDFCreator) you can use with Windows for this purpose. I also mentioned that we could do this with any program in the Mac OS.

I guess I felt kind of smug about the whole experience - that our Macs really gave us an edge. But then I wondered why I didn't get the Mac people better coordinated in setting up file-sharing, and printing (if it was possible). I found that when our time was limited, and there was pressure to complete the task, I often ended up doing things the old fashioned way. About the only thing Mac-like we did, was share our iTunes folders.

Go figure.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Easy way to shed 600MB...

This is a general hint that many of us could figure out, but probably is overlooked by many people, particularly if you've had your Mac a couple of years.

Software update likes to insist that you have and download the latest version of iPod Updater and iSight Updater - even if you aren't using these peripherals (at least on my Mac). It nags you to obtain these updates, though you may not need them, by leaving them on the checklist of files.

Unfortunately, it doesn't delete the PREVIOUS updaters that were downloaded. I found, by accident, that these were eating up a lot of space. Lots!

My 12" G4 PB is about 2 years old, and I've downloaded every iPod updater and iSight updater since 2004 May. Well, my 60Gb hard drive is darn near full, so I've been looking for ways to clear up space - including deleting extraneous photos and music I don't need.

Well, I was looking through my App folder and saw all the iPod updaters together. For kicks, I did a GET INFO to see how much HD space was being used by the folder. I was shocked to find it was well over 600MB!!

I deleted all but the most recent version of iPod updater in that folder, and the same for the iSight Updater, and now my HD is much more comfier.

Let's hope we can get Apple to fix this glitch in the way Software update moves/assesses the updates for these peripherals.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Colored iBooks?

Looks like someone at Apple may be trying to cater to the female Japanese market.

AppleInsider is reporting that the Intel iBooks, reportedly due in the Spring, may be released in different shades or colors. Apparently someone in the know has seen color variations at Apple's development labs.

I hope that these new laptops, whether they are called iBooks or MacBooks, are actually small enough to appeal to women. (Sorry Apple, but the current 12" G4 laptops are still far too heavy for J-gals!)

Let's further hope that Apple actually releases something in the Spring.

Note to Apple: Spring ends on 22 June.

Tokyo Train Tech Talk

I want to regularly talk about the gadgets I see during my commutes here in the greater Tokyo era. So, I'll periodically write under this banner when I can.

Today I want to mention something I've noticed more of on the train in the last month - Sony PSPs. This is a big surprise to me, as PSPs have not sold as well as the Nintendo DS. However, in the last month, I've seen one or two DS units, and perhaps one PSP nearly every day I've used the train. I would also note that the typical PSP user is an adult male, and even dudes in their 30's and 40's. Usually I see kids with the DS. Now I want to figure out what people are doing with their PSP units. I've seen a few people playing games, but I've also noticed some folks using the PSP for music and others for movies. Recently, I'm trying to lighten my load, so I'm whipping out my PSP less often to revel in my nerdery.

I also notice a few more folks in the PSP aisles at electronic stores in the last few weeks. Perhaps one reason for this was the lack of DS Lite units when the were first introduced. Another reason might be the availability of more accessories, and better PSP software. Although I've said previously that the DS's size gave it the edge in the Japanese market, others have noticed the lack of any killer apps on the PSP - like Nintendogs. (Yuck!) So, perhaps something has changed, and older consumers are regarding the PSP as something more than a game platform, because of the improvements in firmware.

The other thing I've noted recently during my commutes are that Japanese iPod users seem to come in two classes. People either love to use their standard issue iPod earphones or they go to the other extreme and plug a set of big, bulky headphones into their iPods. I think the latter group is trying to come off as true audiophiles. I rarely see people using non-Apple earbuds or plugs - but perhaps I'm not paying close enough attention.

Anyway, that's all for now.

(Note: Photo is from a でんしゃ おたく website called "Odakyu@Train")

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Mac News Snoozers

Well, it seems that there isn't anything from Apple worth talking about these days - so the only thing we have to get excited about is the introduction of a new and Universal version of... ARA, errr... ARD - Apple Remote Desktop.


TUAW has decided to make the lack of Apple Info even more bland by telling us about Tuesdays new iTunes store announcements, and even the deals section. OMG!

Well, perhaps I shouldn't blame TUAW and others, as Apple has pretty much created the void by not creating anything new during this time period. It's our own fault, perhaps, that we have such anticipation for something new and flashy. But Apple should have done something cool with it's 30th anniversary. Oh well. I suppose now we are realizing that Apple may have blown its proverbial wad.

Still, I wonder. I've read that Apple has subcontracted out designs of its Intel motherboards to... Intel. Just what are they spending their R&D dollars on? Designs of portals to sell feature length videos?! Geez, I hope not. Still, I wonder why we aren't seeing something of Apple's innovative spirit in the last few months. The iPod HiFi doesn't count folks.

I guess I have to keep chanting this mantra over and over... MacPDA- MacPDA...

Monday, April 10, 2006

Response to the Mac Hater

Here's what I wrote my brother, in response to his rant about iPod trendiness...

"Dear Mac Hater,

The iPod is the standard to beat. Accept it. Its interface is overall the best - SORRY! There are some features that could be better, like battery life and lack of FM tuner, no recorder, or even high price. But frankly the iPod provides the best overall user experience. Sorry, but it's true.

But the iPod itself (or no particular iPod model) is not the reason iPods are so successful. The reason is ITUNES - not the store or 99 cent downloads - it's the iTunes program. It integrates well with the iPod and is the best program hands-down to manage and organize your music. Yup, it only works with mp3s or Apple's AAC format - but it beats the crap out of anything on Windows or Mac - PERIOD. And it's available for Windows itself.

Has the iPod craze gotten out of hand? Yeah, maybe. There's lots of pointless junk out there, including Apple's new iPod Hi-Fi. And a lot of idiots are buying lots of accessories for it (occasionally, me too). Yet I think it's pretty cool, even though I'm anti-mainstream, because I have a large choice of accessories. Furthermore, it's brought the cost of iPods and accessories down. Better yet, it's brought a stream of revenue to Apple, and increased its Mac sales to levels we've never seen. I'm hoping to benefit, as maybe Apple will get off its collective ass and finally make a decent small mac laptop and other hardware.

It's funny - just the thing you complain about for the iPod, its loads of accessories, is just the thing you Windoze freaks say is so great about Windows (compared to Macs) - "lots of software and compatible hardware options available" - "it's a standard OS everywhere".

Suck it up.

I never bought Apple products just because they were different or for the little guy. I buy them because they *work better*, for the most part, than anything else on the market. The only reason Mac users are rebellious, is because we've had to fight for every millimeter of respect. Hell, I still can't get my school to provide me cheap copies of MS Office for Mac, only Windows.

I could care less if Apple monopolizes the digital music world, because I don't get 90% of my music from them. As long as I can get my files from CDs (or elsewhere) it’s unimportant that Apple is number one. When Apple released a junk iPod (the shuffle) I jumped all over it and refused to have anything to do with it. But as long as Apple makes decent iPods, like the nano and newer full-sized ones, I could care less if they are number one or number 10.

What you don't get is that people don't hate Microsoft because they are number one. They hate them because they are a monopoly that produces a few good products, but lots of buggy ones, and a very flawed, vulnerable operating system that won't even be upgraded in the next year. And maybe by the time Vista comes out (if it ever does), it will be so far behind Linux and Mac OS that even *you* will wake up.

I don't fear Apple's iPod success, unless they stop devoting resources to their computing platform. As for hating bandwagoners, I certainly don't think much of them - just shrug because I was likely using an iPod long before them. I STARTED their bandwagon. When they have a negative impact on what I'm getting, then I'll move on to something else. So far, they aren't bothering me and they make my toys much cheaper and more plentiful.

And as for Apple putting bugs and tracers in their products - PUH-LEEZE. If they ever do that, they'll lose their business - they know that. Even the thought that they *might* do this has made them change a feature in the iTunes store that made suggestions for content, based upon your song library.

And, by the way, if you worry about companies tracing your activities, you'd better look closely at Microsoft software products, and the information they send to Redmond when you install, boot up, or upgrade them.

Don't get me wrong, I like a lot of the hardware that runs Windows. The laptops made by Sony, Panasonic and others are superior to what is currently available from Apple, including the new Intel Macs. These have better screens, lighter weight, longer battery life than any Mac. Unfortunately, the MacOS doesn't run on those machines, so I'll stick with Apple products until I have a better option. I also think some music players have better features than iPod models, but again they don't run the iPod interface or anything even close to it. And they don't integrate with iTunes or my Mac, for the most part.

In any case, I think the bandwagon to worry about is the Windows Parade, which is sadly falling behind."

Thursday, April 06, 2006

My Brother the Mac Hater Pt II

My brother eventually decided to pay $130 for a 1Gb iAudio music player, and I couldn't resist telling him he could have had a 1Gb Nano for only $10-20 more. His response? A complaint about how the iPod is overwhelming anything else on the market, with too many accessories, and how this status is detrimental to Apple's image.

Below is what he emailed me. I find it interesting, as it delves deep into the psyche of someone that can't see the forest for the trees. :-)

"But... I am severely annoyed with the craze. On principle alone, I feel like I need to refuse the iPod craze because its just gotten completely out-of-hand. This little article below is a good example:

It is extremely frustrating now when trying to look for accessories and you have to literally wade through hundreds of iPod accessories to find the one or two non-iPod ones. I mean, what happened to Apple's rebellious, anti-establishment, nature? They have very nearly become the "Microsoft" of the Digital Audio world and they have lost one of their biggest selling points by becoming the de-facto standard. Its become the norm in customer reviews of non-iPod MP3 players for every 3rd or 4th review to mention, "beats the iPod", or "iPod can't touch it", etc. This is the type of angst previously reserved for the Microsofts of the world.

If I were a die-hard Apple-ite, I would like to think I would refuse to jump on the bandwagon, or at least write some nasty grams to the people cashing in on the insanity. Next thing we'll be hearing that Apple has a government contract and is actually putting GSM in the iPods and tracking everything we do and say via iTunes bugs and iPods. Maybe the 1984 Orwell reference in their commercial was a strange foreshadowing of their own future.

Anyway, rant off, just had to get that off my chest."

I'll email my response to his rant in my next post, today or tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

MacZot Pays Up

Update: MacZot responded to my email asking for AppZapper (albeit very late) and sent me a license. YAY! I'm not certain this is related to my complaint mail or just them catching up with requests.

In any case, THANKS MacZot - I'll keep plugging you for now. In the future, please make your links to such offers more obvious.

Size matters in Japan...

I would say that the tech needs of folks in Japan, particularly in large cities, varies from that of folks in the US and likely much of Europe. Tech in Japan is much like any other pop culture medium here. People consume electronics for the 'cool' factor more than anything else, and I think more than anyone else. And they also tend to tire of trends relatively quickly. However, the particular needs of consumers differs a bit from western countries.

Essentially, the emphasis is usually on small. This is directly correlated to the ubiquitous usage of public transportation here - the best train system in the world, some believe. People have to carry all their things around while on the train or walking to/from stations. So, smaller and lighter is better. If you compare the Nintendo DS and the Sony PSP, the DS is smaller, though many people feel the PSP has better features. The DS has two screens, though each is smaller than the PSP, and has a stylus for some screen input functions. The PSP has a bigger screen, and you can purchase full length movies to play on it. I'm told the DS has a better series of games on it and a pen input chat function called "PictoChat". The PSP has browser and RSS functions, lacking in the DS. However, in Japan, the DS is kicking the crap out of the PSP in sales. And Nintendo has just released a smaller version of the DS called DS Lite, which is apparently more feature packed, though smaller than its predecessor. You could say each platforms offers something the other doesn't. However, my feeling is that the DS wins here in large part because it is so much smaller than the PSP.

In the US, the PSP is more popular than it is in Japan. (Actually, Xbox is not very popular in Japan, but it's not portable, so...). PSP movies sales are also not strong in Japan, but I wonder if they are very popular anyware. (Update: I just read on SlashDot that UMD movies sales are stagnant, and they'll be discontinued in the US). My guess is that people don't use public transportation as much in the US, so getting the big fattie device is OK. Just chuck it into the back seat of your car!

Apple was not the biggest music player on the block in Japan, until it released the Nano. I'm not saying that iPods weren't selling well here. However, other brands of small flash based players (in aggregate) were selling better a year ago. OK, the shuffle had been released, but frankly most folks here didn't really see the advantage of a flash player with no screen over the multitude of full-featured flash players available here already. However, the nano changed the equation, finally putting the iPod experience in a small and stylish form factor that was previously available, but with the iPod experience.

So, what about computers? Well, Macs have always enjoyed a popular following here, and Apple's resurgence has certainly hit Japan as well. However, where Apple is miserably behind, particularly in Japan, is a truly small laptop. The 12" G4 sold very well in Japan, but smaller, lighter offerings from Sony and Panasonic (among others) have more appeal among many Japanese, particularly women. The 12" G4 weighs 4.6 lbs (2.1 kg). The Sony Vaio TX series weighs 2.76 pounds (1.25 kg) and comes several colors. The Pansonic Toughbook eLite W4 Executive comes in at 2.7 lbs - and also several colors. In Japan Panasonic's "Let's Note Light" comes in at 1kg (2.2 lbs). If you take a peek at virtually all current Windows laptops, their screens are bright, with slick shiny surfaces - much nicer looking, IMHO, than any laptop Mac.

Furthermore, the G4 processor has woefully lagged behind those found in comparable Windows laptops, prompting Apple to move to Intel chips to provide power in smaller form factors. We are to expect smaller, lighter Mac Laptops, but the first Intel Mac laptop, the MacBook Pro, really doesn't go in that direction. And informed speculation suggests that Apple won't make another 12" laptop, likely going to 13" in their next Intel offering (an iBook?). This suggests to me that Apple really isn't interested in making small notebook computers, and I think that spells trouble for longterm Mac sales in the Japanese market.

I often see PDAs used by people in the US in their everyday lives. These are also common in Japan, and I see them used by commuters daily on the train. Lines are blurring between phones and PDAs (though I like mine separate), but the thing is that small light devices are the rule here. I can't help but wonder how Apple would absolutely rule the market in Japan if they released a PDA running something like the MacOS, or even a 1kg notebook computer.

Apple's OS is quite superb compared to WindowsXP and Vista is really nowhere in sight. But this alone won't help Apple in this market place unless they can offer devices in compact sizes that meet or beat the Windoze offerings. I just can't understand why Apple doesn't see this, and address this need. Perhaps flabby laptops are fine for the US and Europe, but they just aren't mainstream here.

MacZot a RipOff?

I'm not sure what happened, but apparently enough folks (including me) linked to MacZot for their BlogZot to make AppZapper free - but the link to actually obtain the free app was nowhere to be seen when I looked for it (before the deadline, even). I even sent a mail to be certain. But nothing.

I'm kind of... P.O.d about it. Heck, it's not the money - $20 isn't a lot for a good app. It's my time and the principle of the thing. I'm not sure I'll promote MacZot anymore, unless they come clean on this one.

Given that I saved every one 5 cents by linking to MacZot, and I didn't even get a copy of the app - I sort of think everyone owes ME that 5 cents... Let's see 5 cents X 5000 people is... $250!

Pay up MacZot.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

AppZapper 4 Free?

MacZot is offering to make AppZapper for FREE if they get enough adverts on blogs before 3 April. AppZapper is a program which helps you remove parts of old and unwanted apps from your hard drive, but you normally have to pay $12.95 for it. For every link to MacZot, they'll lower the AppZapper price 5 cents - so they need 259 links. So... here goes!

Wake your friends, call your neighbors and link away...

Monday, April 03, 2006

Back in the Big Ringo

Well, I'm back from my week-long trip to Okinawa. After a week of not having any computer access, let alone a Mac, I'm thinking about a post on "Mac-less" travel survival tips. That will have to wait for later.

It seems Apple has yet to suprise us with anything for their 30th anniversary, though I had thought otherwise. Maybe something will come when the week starts in Cupertino? *Sigh*

In the mean time, I've been catching up on news and posts in the Mac-osphere... Lots of new stuff on MacUpdate in the last week - just waded through those. For iPod users, I found this post via TUAW about a visual guide to iPod key combos for resets. This is very well done, and Apple should adopt something like this for their support site. I should cite the folks who made this: - interesting blog.

That's it for now - brevity can be its own reward in some cases.