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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

TDL Live: This week's Apple news and rumors

If you missed, below is this week's TDL Live, bringing you the roundup this week's Apple news and rumors, in handy video form. We're talking about the death of GoLive, the iTunes Music Store birthday, new iMacs and more, Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Mahjong iPod Game Review

What happens when the popular tile game Mahjong comes to the iPod? Can you overcome the small screen? Does controlling/selecting tiles become tedious? Find out in macgirl's Mahjong iPod Game review video:

The iPhone: Turning a missing feature into a hype machine

There's a lot of buzz about the next version of the iPhone, and frankly, it's been that way since shortly after the phone launched. The word, or more precisely number and letter, on everyone's mind is 3G. Yes, 3G. You would think it was the savior of cell phone users everywhere. Curiously, a year ago, most of the country probably hadn't heard of 3G. Yet a year later, it's the must-have feature for the next version of the iPhone. Which got me thinking: what if the iPhone had 3G to begin with? What would we all be talking about now?

Apple has a knack for (whether by design or not) leaving off a feature, or neglecting to add a feature, and then the lack of that feature actually fuels sales and even more talk about the product. Think back to a time when the iPod didn't do video. The buzz reached fever pitch after the iPod Photo. Everyone was suddenly concerned with when would the iPod play video. So here we are again. If the iPhone had 3G from the start, would rumor sites be buzzing about text copy & paste? (another missing feature) or perhaps an iChat client? It's doubtful these kinds of rumors would fuel the tech blogs the way the lack and perceived need of 3G on the phone has.

3G will not make the phone thinner, lighter, give it longer battery life, or make the UI more intuitive. It won't let you copy and paste text, record voice memos, or easily create ringtones. What it does do is provide fuel for the blogger fire for an entire year.

So what do you think? If the iPhone has 3G networking from the beginning, what would everyone be getting ready for now? Do you think Apple deliberately leaves off features to build hype, or are the media/bloggers to blame/credit?

Saturday, April 26, 2008

From Within The Loop: An inside look at Apple

In this installment of From Within The Loop I bring you an inside look into Apple culture. What’s it like to work in Cupertino? Is it true that employees work from 11am to 4pm? Is there a dress code or can you wear whatever you want? Well I’m here to dish the dirt and tell you how it is.

Apple is famous for it’s address, 1 Infinite Loop. It’s also part of the fabled Silicon Valley corporate culture. What I can tell you is that it’s not all fun and games. Like any other company employees get to work in the morning, I’d say most by 9am and leave at 5 or 6 in the evening. Pretty standard.

What isn’t standard . . . volley ball and basketball games during lunch time. Most notably in the spring and summer months, you can find Apple employees enjoying a game of volleyball on the ‘quad’ or taking up a basketball game on the court. Apple also has a sand volleyball court, but I’ve never actually seen anyone using it.

Can anyone find that employee handbook, I can’t seem to figure out what to wear . . . I couldn’t find it either. Apple employees dress however they want. Jeans and t-shirts are pretty much standard, and shorts in the summer are a must. Apple doesn’t care what you wear as long as you’re doing good work, and that’s the way it should be.

Corporate America should take some cues from Apple. Keep your employees happy and they’ll continually do amazing work. Apple gets it. When you spend more hours of your day at work than at home there should be something inherently fun about it. If goofing off for two hours to get a game of volleyball in yields the next iPhone like device I’d say it’s money well spent....

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Gaming: The Wii is a Lie

"It's a virus where you buy it and you play it with your friends and they're like, Oh my God that's so cool, I'm gonna go buy it. So you stop playing it after two months, but they buy it and they stop playing it after two months but they've showed it to someone else who then go out and buy it and so on." - Michael Capp, President of Epic Games on the Wii

With more quotes like this beginning to show up on the web, it looks like some gamers are starting to regret their Wii purchase. Here are a few reasons I think the Wii has failed.

Ease of Use.
When the Wii was first introduced gamers were told that the reason behind its unique controller was to make games easier to play. I suppose some people are intimidated by the multiple buttons present on most game controllers. Nintendo was going to make games easier to play. With the exception of a few titles such as Wii Sports, this is simply not true. The inaccuracy of the motion controls and sensor bar has often left me flailing my arms while watching my character on screen do absolutely nothing. Many games simply don't work with the current technology. Perhaps they will with Wii2. When the controls do work, they're a waggle motion that replaces what should be a button press (Mario's spin move in Mario Galaxy) leaving you wondering why you're not using a standard controller in the first place.

Innovation. We were told that the games industry had gotten boring and stale, turning out sequel after sequel. This may very well be the case, but Nintendo hasn't exactly separated itself from this trend. Instead they have released another Zelda, another Donkey Kong, another Mario Kart, Mario Baseball, Mario Soccer. When was the last time Nintendo created an original IP? Third party support isn't setting the world on fire either, unless you want to play yet another collection of mini-games.

Price. At $250 the Wii was considerably cheaper than the $400 Xbox360 and $600 PS3 at launch. But is it really that much cheaper when you start considering what you get for your dollar. You are basically getting a $40 GameCube with a bluetooth remote and wifi. The majority of the software looks equal to or worse than what was previously available on the 2001 released GameCube. When you start adding in the cost of additional Wiimotes and Nunchuck controllers you are approaching next gen price ranges without getting the benefit of high definition graphics or movie playback.

So what does all this mean? Nothing really. The Wii will continue to out sell everything and the media will continue telling you how cool the Wii is. But remember what we learned from watching American Idol. Just because something is popular, doesn't mean it's any good.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Bomberman iPod Game Review

Bomberman comes to the iPod, and I have my review of the new iPod port. It's not pleasant. Sorry Bomberman fans.

Video Interview: Ben Heckendorn, Creator of the Apple IIGS Laptop

Ben Heckendorn, a legendary game console modder, got the attention of the Apple community recently as he created a one-of-a-kind Apple II GS laptop. We have an exclusive interview with Ben... Enjoy!

Apple Has a Record Quarter

The official numbers are out, and Apple had the best second quarter ever. Ever. Now we'll have to see what happens to the stock... Watch our full analysis tonight at 9PM ET / 6PM PT. We'll be taking your questions, and your insight as well. Until then, you can check out the raw numbers from Apple here.

Reminder: Apple Earnings Today, Live Analysis Tonight

We are just over an hour away from the announcement of Apple's quarterly financial results. Usually, the stock reacts one way or another, and if recent trends are any indication, it may not be good. Sometimes beating estimates handily just isn't as important as how many iPods you say you'll sell next quarter.

Be sure to join us at 9PM ET / 6PM PT for our live quarterly earnings show. You can participate via iChat and email. We want to know what you think of the results and the reaction.

And in case you missed it, here's all the "fun" we had after last quarters stock drubbing...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Apple Store 5th Ave: A Few Nuggets

I was in NYC this past weekend for the New York Comic Con, and ended up checking out the 5th Avenue Apple Store for the first time. This location has been open for a while now so I am not going to bore you with all of my impressions, but a few things did cross my mind while I was there.

1) How exactly do they manage to keep both the outside cube structure and the glass staircase so clean? Having worked at Apple Retail, I was always shocked how dingy our counter tops and floor would be, even after scrubbing by the Mac Specialist. The 5th Avenue store however appeared spotless, even on a busy Sunday. You would expect their famous glass staircase to be filled with muddy foot prints, yet it was pristine.

2) The Mac Specialist didn't appear to be doing very much. Almost every employee I saw, outside of the Genii and Concierge appeared to be just standing around. I didn't see anyone giving "rides" on iMacs or demoing Apple TV, but I also didn't see customers looking around for help either. The store definitely feels more like a tourist exhibit than it does a retail store. I wonder how the Mac Specialist are graded on their performance?

3) Despite the enormous Genius Bar and iPod Bar, I still saw plenty of people with broken iPhones and iPods with that familiar look of disgust on their face. It's the same look I saw daily in my former thirty foot Apple store. I guess large bars and more genii don't solve the real problem which is facing Apple retail. Quality control.

Having worked in Apple retail, and now being away from it for a year, I would summarize the 5th Avenue store as a nice place to visit...but I wouldn't want to work there :)

The Sims Pool iPod Review

Our review of The Sims: Bowling left us less than satisfied with the first stab at bringing The Sims universe to the iPod. Did the The Sims Pool do any better? Watch below and find out!

Whatever happened to iMix?

When Apple introduces a new feature, it's usually done quite carefully, and you can count on it being a hit. But what happens when a new feature is added, hundreds of thousands of people use it, then the Apple community seems to collectively forget about it? I'm talking about iMix.

A few iterations of iTunes ago, iMix was added as a way for people to create and share their own personal playlists with the masses. Hey, with all the social networking hullabaloo, it looked like a sure-fire hit. And indeed, there are over 1.3 million playlists uploaded according to Apple. If you're new to iTunes though, you may not have even known the feature exists. iMix is still part of iTunes, but the prominent link on the main page is gone. To get to it, search for "iMix" in the search field, then look in the "related" field in the results.

Why has iMix fallen off the map? Has the community aspect of iTunes been pushed aside to make room for higher profit sections like movie rentals? Are people still using iMix? Does anyone care? Well, a lot of music marketers and advertisers should care. Imagine the information that can be gained about the popularity of particular songs/artists from the iMix lists. And iMix could be a great resource. Let's say you're planning a wedding, and looking for just the right playlist. what better way to start than to see the playlists of other like-minded iTunes users. If you do an iTunes search of "wedding songs" there are no iMix results, and there's not even a way to search iMix. However, if you navigate to the iMix page, by first following the directions above to find it, there are over 100 wedding song playlists, rated by users like you.

iMix can and should be the cornerstone of a new social networking/community component of iTunes, instead of being a wallflower at the largest online (and beyond?) music retailer.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Ellen Feiss Movie: Whatya think?

Tonight we showed Ellen Feiss' film "Bed and Breakfast." Let us know what you thought in the comments below, and we'll choose two random winners of $15 iTunes gift cards. You must be a U.S. resident to win.

Thanks for watching everybody!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Gaming: Hey Nintendo it's not 2001 anymore!

As a Mac user, I do all of my video gaming on consoles. Currently both a Xbox360 and Nintendo Wii reside in my game room, but lately only one seems to be getting much love.

Am I the only one feeling cheated and ripped off by the Wii? Nintendo promised innovation, but instead have been repackaging the same tired franchises since the N64 days. How many times will they remake Zelda? How many Mario Strikers or Mario Baseballs do we need? How can they charge $50 for Mario Kart Wii, when it's the same game they released in 2001?

Next week TDL will take a look at some of the disappointments of the Wii. In the meanwhile have a look at this comparison video of Mario Kart Wii and Mario Kart Gamecube. Can you spot the differences?

The Sims Bowling iPod Game Review Video

The Sims. Loved by many, comes to the iPod with two games. This is our look at the first; bowling:

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Leopard On Demand book review

There's a sea of reference books out there for new Mac users. Ryan has a review of Mac OS X Leopard On Demand. Rather than taking the user step by step through using the whole operating system, On Demand takes a task-based approach...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Airport WiFi - Making Travel LESS Enjoyable

I’m blogging from 30,000 feet today [really this was 4-10-08]. My trip today reminds me of the inconvenience of traveling. Luckily I don’t travel all that often. Lines . . . everywhere. And if your lucky enough to have SSS on your ticket you get a free feel up by some TSA guy going through security. After the complimentary violation you’re welcomed to the terminal where you get overpriced garbage attempting to mascarade as food. Be prepared to open your wallet should you want a drink to take the edge off. WHY? Because they can.

As if all this insult wasn’t enough, I took out my iPhone from its protective confines of my bag, someone has to protect it from TSA violation, to happily find an AT&T Wi-Fi network. I fired up Safari and was taken to a AT&T launch page. I was amazed to find that they wanted me to purchase a pass to use their service. It’s bad enough that I’m traveling, but to not be able to sit at the terminal, where I’ll be for hours to make sure that I didn’t miss my flight (the LINES again), and get some free wi-fi is unacceptable. I didn’t stick around long enough to see how much AT&T wanted to scam me out of, but $1.00 would have been too much.

The worst part about the airport hotspot situation is there is no standard. I was joking before when I said $1.00 would be too much. But can you imagine spending $9.99 for a day pass, have a connecting flight at another airport, and arrive to find out that it’s a T-mobile hotspot. You’ve already paid for AT&T and now you’re going to get dinged by T-mobile in the same day. I’m surprised there isn’t more fuss coming from travelers about this. There should be a standard at airports in the US and I propose it should be free to consumers.

I should have to agree to the terms of service indicating that I won’t use the network for no good, or for porn . . . come on, kids could be around. It should be an add supported network, someone has to pay. I have no problem being presented with advertising for the newest Bose noise canceling headphones, the crap burger at the scam factory down the terminal, or even the SkyRest Travel Pillow (the most ridiculous product I was able to find from sky mall).

As I started this I said that I connected to the AT&T hotspot from my Apple iPhone. HELLO it’s already running on the AT&T network. Is there no way for the network to realize this and allow me to connect for free?? Is AT&T trying to tell me that the good money I spend every month for their service isn’t enough to consume some Wi-Fi before my flight?!? I suppose they’d rather me consume data on their cellular network which has to be more costly . . . so I did.

In our DigitalLifestyle we demand constant broadband connectivity. Every device talks to the internet and for Airports to be starving us of this connectivity after they fashion airports to be the most inconvenient places, they should be ashamed of themselves.

We're broadcasting Ellen Feiss' film on Monday!

We're excited to announce TheDigitalLifestyle.tv will have a one-time only airing of the film "Bed & Breakfast," starring Ellen Feiss. Feiss became an internet hit after appearing in one of the first commercials from Apple's "Switch" campaign.

This will be our first fictional programming on the network, and we'll be giving everyone the ability to chat in real time while watching the film. So tell your friends and family! And here's and even better idea.. Join us a half hour early, and you can enjoy TDL Live too! The full press release is below, but I hope you'll join us Monday, April 21 at 9:30 PM ET (TDL Live starts at 9:00) 6:30PM PT.

Ellen Feiss Film to Air Online, with viewer chat

Ellen Feiss, one of the stars of Apple's "Switch" ad campaign will appear in the film "Bed & Breakfast" on TheDigitalLifestyle.tv.

The film, shot in France in 2006, follows a young American couple on vacation in France look for an old friend who has inherited a castle. The film marks the screen debut for Feiss, who became an internet celebrity following her appearance in one of the initial "Switch" campaign ads from Apple.

The film marks the first fictional programming for The Digital Lifestyle, which was founded in November 2007 by former Apple employees, and covers Apple-related news, rumors, and lifestyle information.

During the one-time only broadcast, viewers will be able to chat with each other in real time. The film will air at 9:30PM ET / 6:30 PM PT Monday, April 21, following TDL Live.

Dear Apple: Make the computer people want

There's been a bit of a stir in the Apple world this week, after Psystar announced they would be selling PCs capable of running Mac operating system, and would even have an option to buy the machine with the Leopard license pre-installed.

The computer, originally named OpenMac is now called Open Computer. Whether it ever ships is doubtful. Shipping the machine with Leopard pre-installed would seem to be a violation of Apple's licensing agreements. They could possibly pull off shipping machines that end users would install the OS on. Priced at $400, the base model offers a far better bargain, at least in terms of performance, compared to the mac mini that's $200 more.

There are three ways apple can deal with the controversy surrounding this machine: 1. Let it proceed un-abated (not going to happen). 2. Throw the lawyers at them, and sue the company into submission (most likely).3. Or, wait for it... Apple could make the computer people want. Looking at the product lineup, the only glaring empty spot (and it's probably been more or less empty since the Performa days) is an affordable, low-end tower.

If Apple has any interest in getting big business to switch, which is a whole other discussion, they need to offer such a box. Fortune 500 companies have tons of installed IT infrastructure, including computer monitors. Now that executives are toting iPhones, there's a stronger potential than any recent time for companies to consider switching. However, an iMac is far too expensive when a $400 PC box can be plugged into the existing monitor. Even the most devout Apple-loving CEO would have a tough time justifying three times that much to replace PCs with Macs. The Mac Mini was a good start, but until it is outfitted with the same RAM and hard drive as a comparable PC, the cost can be nearly double that of the competing computers.

Remember there was a time when the eMac was only for education? Demand, or at least Apple's experiment within that channel led to the model being available to all. Why not do the same with a no frills Apple box for business. We'll call it the bMac, and hope that Apple's marketing folks can come up with something better. Make a limited run of bMacs, and sell them, to businesses that simply couldn't consider other Apple alternatives. Next thing you know, new markets open up, higher margin xServes are going to those same companies, and another few percentage points of marketshare is gained.

UPDATE: Since this was posted, it appears Psystar has been outed as a fake. We have requested an interview, but have received no response. Engadget and Gizmodo have also had little luck verifying the company's existence. Regardless, the interest the story generated shows the interest in having a product fill this gap.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Digital Lifestyle Live: 4/15/08

Did you miss this week's show? Ryan and Adam have all the latest news and rumors for the week. Enjoy the show!

TDL programming available on Demand

From day one, (almost) everyone has said they like watching TDL, but there's always been one complaint... While the network is a great way to see new shows and clips you may not have otherwise seen, people want to be able to watch their favorite TDL shows when they want to. Well now you can! Just head to TheDigitalLifestyle.tvand click on the "On Demand" button below the player.

We're still testing, so you won't find everything there yet, but we hope to have all of our original programming available shortly. Enjoy, and let us know what you think!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Tablet device... Why bother?

For years, there have been rumors of a mythical tablet, or "tablet-like" device from Apple. I hate to spoil everyone's fun, but the tablet device is already out there, and it's called the iPhone.

Yet many people think any day now, we'll see a device with perhaps a 7" screen that would pack the power of laptop, or in some speculation, the device would act as a companion device to a house of Macs. What good would this device be? If you want to sure from the couch, and find a laptop too bulky, there's already the iPhone and iPod Touch. If you're looking for a lightweight design, that comes along with its own drawbacks, there's the Macbook Air. A 7-inch screen isn't large enough to do much more than surf the web. For full computer capability, you would need a physical keyboard, and that of course means a bigger device or a smaller screen.

Maybe I'm missing something here, but I just don't see a place for this in the product lineups. If you want to talk about product gaps, we can talk about the gaping hole where a low-end tower should be, but as for portable devices, the choices are already there.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

iPod Game Review: Zuma

We sure have seen some hit or miss games for the iPod, but this might be the first undisputed hit...

Friday, April 11, 2008

Microsoft Retail: Surprising and Delighting Soon?

More rumors have surfaced about Microsoft entering the retail space with Apple-like stores. I can't say I am surprised by this. Since the launch of the original Xbox in the fall of 2001, Microsoft has been positioning itself more and more as a hardware manufacturer, with varying degrees of success. The Xbox certainly has established itself as a player in the console wars, and I guess the Zune has muscled its way into second place in the digital music player market. Sure it's so far behind Apple and the iPod it's not even funny, but i guess being ahead of the iRiver should account for something. There has even been rumors about them selling a Microsoft branded PC.

I just wonder how serious they are about entering retail. Will theses stores simply be a showcase piece where you go to look and touch, but ultimately are forced to order products from a website? (Remember, this was Apple's original plan. Then never really expected the retail stores to make any money. They figured they would take a loss on the stores, but would generate some nice advertising.) Or will they jump in feet first and attempt to copy Apple's model of selling a select core of products along with providing superior customer service?

I'm curious to see how this all shakes out. I just hope their version of the Genius Bar is available at launch. It will make getting my Xbox 360 replacement soooo much easier when the next red ring of death strikes.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Road To Apple

Oh no, first time posting to the amazing Blog that is thedigitallifestyle.tv! I expect lots of mercy to be shown, folks. I wanted to tell a brief story of how things happened that led to my being hired at Apple Retail. I had been a long time Mac user and evangelist, starting with the Lisa in 1983. I was working for a restaurant company and they had asked me and my then wife, to check into computers to use at our stores. I spent a ton of time looking at every type of machine available, and there weren't that many, and was frustrated beyond comprehension. One day, on the way home from a meeting, we stopped at this tiny hole in the wall computer store, the incomparable Sunrise Computing in Chambersburg, PA. While I was listening to the salesperson sling the pitch, my wife had sat down and thrown together a spreadsheet to use for scheduling the staff! She had little computing background, and so that was it for me, we had our machine, the 512k Fat Mac from Apple Computer. I was completely enamored with that machine, and spent every waking moment playing...er... working on it.
Over the years after the big discovery, I worked at various types of places, all involving the Mac, ComputerLand, Computer Factory, and so on. I took a few corporate jobs during that time as well, usually helping companies ramp up a Mac launch, or something along those lines.
I met many folks involved with Apple, and became friends with a few. I always joked with them that they should hook me up with a job with the mothership, Apple itself. That was just a dream, what could I possibly qualify for?
Hmmmm, then came Apple Retail!
I moved back to Pennsylvania, and heard that an Apple Retail store was opening in (my area), just a few miles down from where I was living. I freaked and got my application to them as fast as I could. Alas, I was not in time to get considered for the opening crew. I was devastated, but at least I had a job at the time supporting Macs at a great advertising agency in () PA., so it was all good!
I stopped in at the store frequently, and left my resumé one day, and was told that they would be calling soon. I was confident my resumé (CV for your overseas folks) had the stuff needed to get considered. I had truly been there, done that, and had a ton load of t-shirts!
But, again, no call. Again, the heartache of not getting in.
But all was not lost. A few months went by, and one day I had a call from their one assistant managers, and she wanted to know if I was still interested. I was cool, and smooth as silk. I screamed YES I WAS. Ahem, then we talked a bit, and she was wonderful and encouraging, two things you don't get too often with managers looking to hire. We set the date up for an interview with another assistant, which went super, and the manager and I met that same day. Paperwork was sent in, all things came together, and I was in! They only had a part time sales spot open, but I did not care, whatever it took, I would do, and wait for my chance.
The remarkable thing was the feeling I got from the interview process. At every step of the process, I was treated so well, like family. I told all of them that I had never come out of any interview process before feeling better about myself than when I went in! As an older guy, I thought I had seen and experienced it all, but I was wrong. Those three ladies remain with the company to this day, and have succeeded wildly.
I was a nervous wreck my first day, but within minutes, the management team, and the employees made me feel like I had been there all along. A few weeks passed, and one day during a lull in the action, I was asked if I ever had heard the story of how I cam to be called for the job. I said no, but was dying to hear the scoop.
It seems that the manager who called me had been cleaning some filing cabinets out and found my crumbled up resumé behind the bottom drawer! She read it, spoke with the other manager, and the rest is history.
For bonus points, can you guess who the person was that took my resumé? I believe he is a big shot at thedigitallifestyle.tv.
I have nothing but fond memories of my time with Apple. I rose up through the ranks quickly, and enjoyed and remember every single moment. The friendships, the laughs, the love, the learning, the converts to Mac, what a time.
I know that times change, and people change, but one thing will always remain a constant with me, the friends and relationships I developed at Apple,(including another location,) a store I went down to help open up. Those people, though I have not always stayed in touch with them, have always been there when I have reached out. Those of us that were employed during that time, and at those stores, truly were blessed. I have visited some stores recently, and have to say that things do feel different. Apple is hugely mainstream now, and it just isn't the same. But at the core of any Apple Store, there remain people that truly do care that you have the best experience, that truly want you to love your Mac, or iPod, or iPhone. They would work for Apple just for the staff shirt and lanyard. Seek them out, buy them a cup of Starbuck's, and enjoy the stories they can share. You will be impressed.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Product Review: Periscope for iSight

I don't know if it would ever catch a bona fide criminal, but Freeverse Software's Periscope brings a lot of unique features to your iSight, that will allow you to catch practical jokers, and play jokes of your own.

Essentially, Periscope turns your iSight or other Mac-compatible camera into a motion sensor. You can then instruct Periscope to automatically take a picture when motion is detected, and that picture can be sent to an email address, flickr account, iPhoto, or even an ftp server.

But enough with the words, here's the video review:

iPhone 2 Not Needed

There has been a lot of speculation recently about Apple dropping a 3G iPhone on us, but what I want to know is, does anyone really need one?

Call me crazy, but outside of a larger battery and more storage space, I just don't see the need for any hardware improvements on the current gen iPhone. Instead of adding a battery sucking 3G chip, that will ultimately keep the cost of the iPhone higher, Apple should focus on making the iPhone cheaper and getting it into as many hands as possible.

There is a reason why the Motorola Razr has sold 50 million units. It's because it went from costing $400 originally, to eventually being free with the wireless service. And once a customer switches to an iPhone, they will be hard pressed to ever switch back.

iPod Game Review Video: Pac Man

Much like our review of Ms. PAC - MAN for the iPod, playing PAC - MAN leaves a little to be desired. While the re-creation of the original game is spot-on, the controls are far from perfect. Here's the video review:

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

TDL Live This week: Apple News Roundup

Adam and Ryan spent Monday night as they so often do: bringing you the latest Apple news and rumors in the live show. You'll want to watch though, because even though you don't get the unbridled thrill of watching the show live, you do still have a chance to win an iTunes giftcard. Watch the show to find out how!

The (digital) shadow knows...

A few weeks ago on our live show, we discussed a study that indicated so much data is flying around these days, that every last person is responsible for roughly 40GB of data.

But here's something related to consider. I call it the digital shadow. Think of all the email addresses you've had through the years: maybe a geocities here, a school email there... Now think of all the silly little websites you may have signed up/registered for using those emails. For all any of us know, the college hoops site you signed up with using your school email five years ago, may very well still be sending emails to your former address. Even if that account has been closed, that traffic still has to be routed far enough on the internet to get bounced.

When we hear about bandwidth issues and congestion on the internet, how much of it might not be do to our daily use at all? How much of it could be millions of emails being sent systematically to emails we no longer check, from sites we forgot existed.

About ten years ago, I signed up for an email address at the novelty @cheerful.com domain. Through the years, the domain has been shuffled to iname.com , and most recently mail.com . While the box has been auto-deleting all this time, I was still surprised to see emails from services I had long ago forgotten. While the trip down memory lane was fond, it was also the digital equivalent of a dripping faucet.

Just imagine how much bandwidth our combined "digital drip" could be using. Is there a solution? Well, it's a bit much to expect individuals to stay on top of every account they've ever had. In my example, it was tough just to figure out who administered the account after all these years. I'm not big fan of regulating the internet, but maybe companies should take an oath to voluntarily remove people from email lists (good luck!) after a certain period of inactivity. If I haven't logged into your site in a year, and you send me multiple warnings that my account (or at least emails to me) will stop in three months, then send multiple warnings, I think it's fair to delete my information.

What do you think? Is our digital shadow/ digital drip a real problem? Is there a way to realistically combat it?

Monday, April 7, 2008

Quick reminder: TDL Live tonight 9PM ET / 6PM PT

Just a quick infomercial to remind you that we will be broadcasting TDL Live, well, live, tonight at 9PM ET. (That's 1:00 Tuesday GMT). We'll be taking a look at the past week in Apple news, and make our (potentially wrong) predictions for the week ahead, I hope you'll join us. And for our over 18, U.S. audience, we'll be giving away an iTunes gift card, but you'll have to watch to find out how to win.

Thanks, and we hope you'll join us tonight.

iPods designed to fail? An old rumor returns...

An opinion piece from the UK's Independent, claims that it's more than coincidence that the iPod fails after about 24 months. The author states that "the fact that these expensive devices rarely last for more than 24 months is hard to swallow. The problem is that as much as I'm frustrated with my Apple experience, I still love my iPod. Even though I know I should take my business elsewhere, it's an addiction."

Well, there's just a few problems with this claim. First of all, is the supposition that all/most iPods fail after about 24 months. I know for me personally, my 4th generation iPod is going strong after nearly four years. Not to mention the first generation iPod my parents still use. Granted, it's battery life is now nearly non-existent, but the thing is functionally sound. It can be unnerving to read these types of articles, and I can only imagine what it's like for the people who have worked so hard on the devices. Of the Apple engineers I've met, none of them seem to be tasked with ensuring product failure. Could the devices be made more reliably? Sure, everything can, or at least it's important to strive towards perfection. I don't know how anyone who uses Apple products could feel that isn't the goal.

That said, I have to say in my own experience, it seems like the build quality/reliability of the newer machines is not on par with "the good old days." While my G4 tower from 1999 is still humming along, I have no expectation for the Intel iMac to be doing the same in nine years. Sure, complaints on the user forums are up, but then again, so are the number of machines sold.

So while yes, there are horror stories of people having their iPods replaced multiple times, it's silly to think there's some sort of directive or intention on Apple's part to make things that don't work. I know when we would see multiple iPod returns when I worked at the Apple store, we became suspect that it may have been the pcs on the other end of the firewire/usb cables that were causing the issues. After all, most of those machines were coming from manufacturers with far less stellar satisfaction/quality ratings than Apple.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Weekend Rewind: Our Guy Kawasaki interview

Here's a special treat for stopping by over the weekend: It's a replay of our interview with Guy Kawasaki. We had a chance to ask Guy about the MacBook Air, his new venture alltop.com He had some uncensored thoughts on bloggers as well. Enjoy!

Friday, April 4, 2008

iTunes Comic Book Store?

Next weekend I'll be taking a trip to NYC to check out the New York Comic Con. Long before I had computers and the internet and video games to take up my spare time, I had comic books. Back then I spent countless hours and dollars on comic books, but now I only occasionally pick up a random issue or graphic novel. Why is that? Is it because there are too many other choices of entertainment? Have I simply out grown them? Or perhaps it's the way I acquire my entertainment that's changed.

This got me thinking. Is there an untapped market for digital comics on a device like the iPhone? Imagine if your favorite comic book series was available via the iTunes Music Store. Apple could ofter a digital comic subscription similar to the season pass that they currently offer for television shows. Issues downloaded to your iMac before they even hit your local comic shop.

Others has discussed the possibility of Apple one day offering e-books through the music store. While the current screen size of the iPhone / Touch would probably hinder using it as an e-reader, I believe it is workable for the comic book medium. To prevent the user from constantly pinching and zooming to readjust the comic book panels, issues would need to be "remixed" into lesser panels per page to allow for a simple and elegant interface. While this remixing wouldn't work for all back issues, it would work for enough to sustain the service, and also open the door for companies to create works designed specifically for the touch screen.

I certainly don't see a service like this ever eliminating traditional comic books, but like downloadable music and films, it's just another way for people to discover and consumer entertainment.

Note to AT&T: It's not 1998

Word is starting to get out about pogo, the new browser from AT&T. Yes, a web browser. In fairness, there's probably still territory to explore in the web browser space. flock for example, cleverly integrates the social networking aspect of online life today. What does Pogo bring to the table? Well, tabbed browsing, the ability to group similar pages under themes (like technology or sports) and then (here comes the innovation!) you will be able to see those webpages arranged as thumbnails. You know all those times that you can't remember that you go to cnn.com, but gosh, you remember what the homepage looks like? This is your solution.

It also gives you the ability to search your group of sites for information; handy for all those times you don't want to be bothered by all the most relevant results, just the results from the pages you already visit. You can see sites recently visited by clicking on a "viewed" button. Goodbye "history" button! Yes it's cool to see webpages being flipped through in the exact same manner as Apple's Cover Flow feature, but at the end of the day, it adds nothing. Any of these "features" could be added overnight to Safari or Firefox via plug ins. Frankly, it's almost designed as if internet explorer is the only browser the designers had ever seen. Maybe they're relying on that to be the case with most PC consumers as well.

The whole thing feels like something that would've been bundled with AT&T's Worldnet about ten years ago. The can play string music, and show floating camera views of the screen in the preview all they want, the bottom line is, if this is the best they've got, this browser is worst than DOA, it was already dead ten years ago.

Exclusive: net4mac social networking for mac users only

Sure we Mac users can be seen as a bit of a snobby bunch, so it was probably only a matter of time until there was a special place just for us in the whole web 2.0 social networking world.

Well, that place just launched at net4mac.com Net4Mac, takes a different approach to social networking, requiring a software download to use the service. At first this can seem cumbersome, and frankly it does take some getting used to, but it makes sense, given the interesting features of the service. The application-centric nature of the site allows net4mac to take advantage of the great built-in OS X features. You can take a pic directly from your site, for example, or easily import/invite address book members.

For the service to work longterm, there will probably need to be some sort of web component to access the key features of the site. For better or worse, people are just used to sitting at any computer to access these types of sites. Think of the times you've accessed myspace or facebook from a work computer. Now imagine installing software first on those machines. However, at least in these early days (technically hours, since the service was officially announced about an hour ago) it looks like this will be a different kind of service. It will probably never reach anywhere near the numbers of those other sites, but it has a great potential to create an amazingly tight-knit group of Apple fans. Think of it more as a universal user's group than a facebook wannabe. Give it a whirl, and let us know what you think!

SO give it a whirl (it's free... what isn't online?) and be sure to join thedigitallifestyle.tv viewer's club group on the site.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Root Access: How does Apple handle damage repairs?

There was a recent hubbub about an email sent to Steve Jobs regarding a $300 price quote from Apple to look at his computer's water damage. Something sounded a little fishy, so it was time to ask our resident genius whether this was all just a tad bit suspicious:

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

iPod Game Review Video: Pole Position Remix

When we were handing out assignments for iPod game reviews, I was thrilled to get Pole Position Remix. The thrill was gone almost instantly.

From a nearly impossible to maneuver car, to bad music, to a poor design choice in making the steering wheel (click wheel) also control acceleration, there's a lot of disappointment in this game. Yes, it's cool to see some of your album cover art show up on billboards throughout the game, but the only reason you see them is that the gameplay is dull.

Here's a look at the video review of Pole Position Remix for the iPod:

iPhone V2 Prediction - Blackberry Pearl paving the way??

There has been a great deal of speculation on when we're going to get the next version of the iPhone and even more speculation surrounding its new features.  I'm going to add one more to the menu today based on the announcement coming out of the RIM & T-mobile camp.  RIM released the Blackberry Pearl 8120t.  WHO CARES

Well I do.  I think it's significant for several reasons . . . ARE YOU PAYING ATTENTION APPLE??

Here goes . . . the 8120t does all the great stuff the other Blackberrys do, but it goes one more step and adds Hotspot @ Home to the list of features.  This means that the smartphone will use Voice Over IP (VOIP) when making calls from your home network.  This marks the first consumer focused smartphone to use this technology.  I can hear the screams already . . . yes there are several other Blackberry devices utilizing this technology, but the pearl is a consumer device so stick with me.

In the all you can eat world of cell phones today, consumers demand unlimited everything.  Currently AT&T offers unlimited data , texting (if you choose to pay for it), and voice (again if you choose to pay for it).  Should you opt for all 3 your monthly service bill before all those taxes is $140.  Pretty steep if you ask me.  In contrast Hotspot @ Home will run you $20 additional.  Assuming you make the majority of your calls from home you can get away with the $40 or $50 plan and pay $60 or $70 total each month.

Besides from the cost basis alone, VOIP is just plain old cool.  Apple likes to be the first to do everything.  They've missed the VOIP smartphone game just slightly, but it's not too late.  My prediction for iPhone V2, VOIP, and not just @ Home.  You heard it here first folks, Apple and AT&T are going to deploy technology that will allow the iPhone to make a call over any WiFi network it can join.  This would mean massive rollover minutes so AT&T better get those calculators and slide rules out to keep track of it all.

So there you have it.  T-mobile has decided that consumer smartphones should have VOIP technology, and I agree.  The cool factor alone will sell tons of phones and the industry once again will have to figure out how to keep up.

April Apple Fantasy Merger: Adobe

(Each month we weigh the pros and cons of a particular potential merger for Apple. Please note the "fantasy" part of this speculation: Many times the mergers mentioned couldn't or wouldn't be realistically possible. But put all that aside and enjoy this month's edition of Fantasy Merger.)

For this month's edition of Apple fantasy merger, I went with an old standby: Adobe. Why? well, because frankly time may be running out on this merger rumor. There was a time when controlling Photoshop may have seen like a golden ticket to allow Apple to grow an even larger share of the creative community. However, with the release of Aperture, and most recently the 2.1 Aperture update supporting 3rd party plugins, the feature gap between the two programs continues to shrink.

However, there is one other Adobe property that might just make it all worth it for Apple: Flash. Flash has been widely accepted as the standard for internet media. Sure QuickTime (and Windows Media) provides a far superior picture, Flash, thanks to it's near-100% install base has become the streaming media format of choice for Youtube, Metacafe, and just about every other online video site.

And if you follow iPhone news, it would be hard to miss the back and forth struggle of bringing Flash to the phone. Some people think it's the missing piece to completing the feature set of the phone, while others see it as a nuisance. Yes, the code can seem bloated. But imagine what Apple could do under the hood... While all web video is slowly migrating to the h.264 open standard, think of the interactive possibilities if Flash and QuickTime became one. You could create interactive slide shows with iPhoto, giving people the ability to add their own features. You could make the full feature set of Photoshop available online for manipulation and adjustment of the pictures. As we move past disc-based media, the winner in online content might be the first format that allows for stunning playback and ease of purchase, as iTunes and QuickTime already do, coupled with the authoring tools, and universal install base Flash provides.

There would still be a big "get" for Apple in the creative market as well. While they would acquire Premiere, a Final Cut Pro competitor, they would also get After Effect, which is far and away the most popular/most used effects software for video production.

Apple could make even greater in-roads in the consumer market with the Flash/QuickTime combination, while simultaneously bringing another important product into their pro software portfolio.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments,

iPod Game Review Video: Sudoku

Macgirl's back with another iPod game review. Today we take a look at Sudoku:

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

From Within The Loop: An inside look at Apple

From time to time I'm going to give you an inside look at Apple from Within The Loop. Having spent some time at "The Mothership" I have some tips, advise, and insight to share with all the tDL readers and viewers.

This installment of From Within The Loop: Cafe Macs.

No one likes working on an empty stomach, and Apple employees are no different. Cafe Macs is centrally located and is open for breakfast and lunch. Offerings vary from day to day, but you can always find fresh made-to-order sushi, brick oven personal pizza, a fresh salad bar, pasta station, the grill, and my own favorite the built to order burrito.

Burritos vary from breakfast to lunch, but I recommend both. The tortillas are giant . . . much larger than your "standard" tortilla. For breakfast you have your choice of eggs, breakfast meat, and fresh veggies. Lunch is where it gets really exciting . . . behold the burrito bar. Thousands of combinations. I'm convinced you can eat a different burrito every day for lunch for a minimum of five years and not eat the exact same combination once.

Now you may be asking how do I get my hands on such a burrito. It's going to be difficult. The only access to Cafe Macs is through the corporate doors. The only way through there is if you are an employee or are accompanied by one. The good news is, if you do get the chance to eat there, you'll have the inside track.

Do get:
1. The Burrito
2. Brick oven pizza
3. Sushi

Don't get:
1. Hamburger / Cheeseburger

TDL Live This week: Apple News Roundup

If you haven't seen it yet, here's this week's TDL Live. And yes, the rumors are true... we were rick-rolled...

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