April 24, 2009

The "Mac vs. PC" ad that broke the camel's back (for me, anyway)

I've silently endured Apple's parade of smug, arrogant "I'm a Mac! I'm a PC!" ads for years (they first started back in 2006, believe it or not), but I finally hit the roof this week after watching Justin Long's "Mac" taunt John Hodgeman's "PC" with iPhoto's new "Faces" feature, which lets you "tag a face once, and iPhoto automatically find other pictures of that person for you!"

Au contraire
, Justin; after many hours painstakingly tagging hundreds of snapshots in iPhoto, only to watch Faces come up empty whenever my wife, I, or another oft-tagged loved one pops up in a picture, I can tell you that no, Faces does not tag all your people automatically after just one tag. And besides ... after three years of cringe-worthy "I'm a Mac! I'm a PC" ads, haven't we -- the viewing public -- been punished enough? (And yes, in case you're wondering, I'm the proud owner of two Mac laptops, an Apple TV, and an iPhone.)

Also this week: The Madden curse claims two more potential victims, Netflix faces competition from an army of buck-a-day DVD kiosks, Apple gets a black eye from the "Baby Shaker" app, and our cable bills keep going up, and up, and up ...

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April 17, 2009

TWC plays with bandwidth caps, gets burned

It's been almost a year since Time Warner Cable began its first experiment with bandwidth metering in Beaumont, Texas (which charges subscribers anywhere between $15 for 1GB of data a month to $75 for 100GB, plus overage charges for exceeding the cap), but the carrier didn't really stir up the hornets' nest until last week, when it announced that it would expand its usage-metered tests to four new markets (Rochester, NY, Greensboro, NC, and Austin and San Antonio, TX). Surprised by the public outcry (uh ... what did they think was going to happen?), TWC officials wisely scrapped the new tests on Thursday, although they left the door open for future bandwidth-capping plans. In any case, I've decided to shelve my own plans to ditch Time Warner Cable for Verizon DSL ... well, for now, anyway.

Also this week: The T-Mobile Sidekick finally gets 3G and GPS, along with what promises to be a gorgeous new display; Microsoft decides to expand its three-year Xbox 360 warranty to include the increasingly troublesome "E74" error; and AT&T looks to extend its iPhone exclusive with Apple for one more year, to 2011.

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April 04, 2009

CTIA 2009 most notable for the no-shows

No new Android phones, still no Palm Pre release date, and no truly innovative new handsets: that was pretty much the story at this year's CTIA in Vegas, which saw little else of interest besides the launch of the new BlackBerry app store and a Skype app for iPhone.

Several new handsets debuted, of course, although many of them -- such as Motorola's eye-catching Evoke (pictuered here), the LG Xenon, and the Samsung Impression -- were basically just iPhone knock-offs with slide-out QWERTY keypads. And while I was holding out hope that HTC would surprise us and unveil the Android-powered Magic for the U.S., instead we had to settle for the Snap, a Windows Mobile QWERTY phone that'll likely replace the Dash on T-Mobile.

Also: The Palm Pre gets a legacy Palm OS emulator but still no release date or pricing, RIM follows in Apple's footsteps with BlackBerry App World (sorry, Handango), and a few cool accessories made some waves, including this around-the-neck headset that projects a "dome" of music around your head.

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