Archive for October, 2004

iPods

Posted: October 28, 2004 in General

The furor has died down about iPod batteries, and Apple weathered that potentially damaging storm pretty well. I’m still getting an easy 6+ hours out of my 1G iPod (which is more than 2 years old now.)—So earlier this week Apple introduced both the color iPod with a maximum capacity of 60GB and the U2 iPod. One is a great idea, the other is quite lack luster.First the good. The U2 iPod is great marketing (for both Apple and U2.) I think Apple’s power is branding, kids want an iPod for Christmas (if you’ve been reading reports about the iPod being the 4th most requested item on teens’ lists.) There is a plethora of 3rd party add-ons, cases and speakers that are specifically tailored for the iPod. The U2 alliance (if you can call it that,) is raising the bar. Sure we’ll probably see artists begin to endorse other stores and devices, but again Apple has beaten everyone to the punch. In the same light U2 is going to get a serious bolster in sales (how often do you see a new album advertised on network TV as much as the U2/iPod commercial?)Now then… we have the color iPod. A friend of mine bought an Archos MP3 player about the time I got my 1G iPod (so about 2 years ago.) The Archos had a small (maybe 3″) color screen. It would play back movies and show photos. My friend, of course, swore by the Archos (especially because the cost was $100 less than the iPod for the same storage.)It was clever, but how often are you actually going to watch a movie on a device of this size? Of course, the iPod still can’t play back movies (the color iPod does allow you to view your photos, it displays album covers and allows you to hook the iPod up to the TV to view photos.) It’s not the technology that I have issue with, in fact Apple is specifically not adding too many “features” to the iPod to avoid making it a swiss army knife. The issue is price, you pay a $100 premium for color. The cheapest color iPod is $499 (40GB) and add another $100 for the top of the line (60GB).That’s not a very attractive price point, and I doubt too many people will be lining up for these devices. I think this is a serious misstep for Apple. Of course, then again I don’t remember being thrilled about the Mini when it was introduced (and have grown to really think it’s a hot idea.)

Advertisements

Duran Duran

Posted: October 28, 2004 in General

I grabbed the new Duran Duran album “Astronaut”. For the uninitiated, this is the first album since Rio (I think) that the original band members are back together. Granted this isn’t really all that earth shattering in the world of music since Duran Duran is pretty much 15 years past their prime. That said, DD is one of those bands I’ve always enjoyed and usually bought whatever they release (the curse of a CD-aholic.)The funny thing is that overall the album is pretty decent, and would have been amazing if it had been released a decade (or two) ago. It reminds me a lot of the old Duran Duran (like Seven and the Ragged Tiger and Rio.) This isn’t a bad thing, just… well… it won’t be a best seller in today’s market.

Weddings, Lions and Bears (oh my)

Posted: October 25, 2004 in General

So this weekend Cara and I drove up to lake Winnipesaukee to attend the wedding of her mom & Ted. The interesting part of this story is that Ted and Peg dated in high school, but each went their own way. Of course Cara’s mom got divorced about 15 years ago. She and Ted started seeing each other about 5 years ago (he also had been married and divorced.) I guess it’s just funny how life works some times.So I spent a lot of time on the road. I drove to pick up Cara (who was able to get a generous 2 hours of sleep before I got there.) We then drove through Boston and picked up Ted’s sister and her husband (both of whom are blind,) then proceeded on to New Hampshire. Overall It was a good 5 hours of driving.The wedding was a low key affair with perhaps 20 people there. It was at one of their friend’s houses (which is one of those homes you hope to own some day.) We stayed the night at a motel.The next day we explored the area, including Cara’s grandmother’s cabin. This is a place in the woods that looks a little like little house on the prairie. You drive about 1/2 mile up a desolate “almost” road. Of course her grandmother lives there 5-6 months out of the year (this woman is into her 80’s I believe.) It is very “bare bones” living, which is disturbing and amazing at the same time. Apparently only in the last decade did she actually get a flush-able toilet or heat.Anyway, after a short shopping excursion around the town of Wolfeboro we made our way home (another 5+ hour trip.)My only big complaint would be that most of my weekend was spent on the road, but overall I think everyone had a good time (and it’s good to see Cara’s mom finally tie the knot.)

9/11 and such

Posted: October 22, 2004 in General

Last night I watched Fahrenheit 9/11 for the first time. Now I have to admit that I’m not the biggest fan of Michael Moore. I was entertained by his earlier films, and there certainly was some serious conversation and thought afterwards.That said, I think Fahrenheit 9/11 was possibly his shoddiest job yet. To tell you the truth, it might have been better to do a “documentary” on the 2000 election (which was the part that I found most interesting.)Anyway, I won’t discuss my feelings about the upcoming election since it really has no point in this forum. Suffice to say, I think we all need to remember the events of the 2000 election and hope that we don’t see a repeat of that.

(Un)truth in advertising

Posted: October 20, 2004 in Automotive, General

Yesterday I stopped by the Ford dealer that is up the street from the office. My main goal was just to get an idea of what might be in stock as far as Focuses go and maybe take one for a spin. I only had to read though the brochure once before someone asked to help me. I was greeted by a young (scary me saying that) man who looked to be in his early 20’s. The kind of kid that you know would have been a major ass in high school, but now he’s here trying to sell me a car (well kind of.)I won’t go into the story of car dealerships and salesmen (especially this one,) more to the point I’ll return to my point which is advertising. In reading the Focus brochure one phrase stuck out to me “European inspired suspension.””Inspired,” what does that mean? A couple of white shirt engineers sat around the break room and said “wouldn’t it be cool of we could outfit the new Ford POS with a BMW suspension?” I mean, talk about a total qualitative statement (I did actually look for some quantitative measurements to try and explain what actually made it european inspired, but found nothing explaining why they chose that nomenclature.)I guess when you’re marketing to kids who can’t afford to get the M5 (or M3) you throw in what they want to hear. Anyway, I was a bit disenfranchised with the idea of owning a Focus (even as a daily driver,) which is the reason I’m back to the idea of finding a low milage SE-R V-spec.

Let me count the days…

Posted: October 19, 2004 in General

Yeah yeah… let’s see two months since my last posting… so sue me….Anyway, so I started working full-time (again.) Of course that was back in September. Don’t get me wrong, like everything else in life it has its upsides and downsides. For instance, now I don’t have to worry about pursing leads, advertising and the headaches of year end taxes (as much.) Then again, I also don’t get paid (as) well for my work (although how much is the stress relief of not “hunting and gathering” worth?)So I spent the month of September working in a corner of a small office in Rocky Hill. Of course it was the same corner that I had been sitting in for a good portion of the year doing contract work. I consider it penance. Because we moved on up to our castle in the sky recently. That is to say the 7th floor of a high rise looking over the Connecticut river in East Hartford.So here I sit with a view of Hartford (I can see the hotel being built, the Gold building and Adriaen’s Landing.) My car can sit snuggled down in the parking garage (which will be nice in the winter.)—In other news, I’ve started car shopping (again.) The Jeep is over 110k, and the Lotus is currently engine-less (not that it was a commuter car anyway.) So I’ve been thinking about picking up a low milage commuter car. My first thought was a Ford Focus, but now I’m not too sure (my eye is still on a Sentra SE-R.) I’m not in a rush, so I’ll probably just keep my eyes open on eBay for something decent in the area.