Part 27 of elf's Apple PowerBook G4 Journal

Retail Stores: Apple vs. Sony


Fri Jun 01 12:04:17 2007

Last Sunday's New York Times business section had a story comparing Sony's retail store experience with the Apple experience. Since Sony didn't release sales figures for its stores (Apple announced 21.5M visitors buying US$855M in 180 stores for the last quarter), the author, Randall Stross, conducted an experiment by visiting an Apple store and a Sony store in the Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto:

Sony's mall store was long and large— 6,000 square feet... A group of five young salesmen and saleswomen who stood near the door when I entered were so engaged in a private, and apparently amusing, discussion that my imploring presence failed to draw anyone's attention. The only other customers in the store were at the far other end, near the PlayStations. I suppose that the employees near me had become accustomed to busying themselves with their own entertainments.

A few yards away was the Apple store, which is one of Apple's newer "mini" stores, introduced in 2004 and only about an eighth the size of Sony's Stanford store. It was simplicity itself: a rectangular space with products lining the two sides, laptops placed on a small table, open space taking up most of the room, and, of course, the Genius Bar. The store was packed, yet the sales people were alert and attentive.

Today, on my way to work, I did my own experiment— at around 11:30AM, before the lunch-crowds appeared, I went to the Apple store in the Eaton Centre and from outside the entrance, I counted about 30 people: a large group of about 6 teens clustered around the Macs at the entrance (left side), a few people at the Genius Bar, a couple lined up at the cashiers, in the back and the rest scattered around the store (I'm sure some of these "customers" were in fact undercover anti-theft officers).

Then I went to the SonyStyle store in the basement of the Eaton Centre. Just as I arrived a middle-aged blonde left the store and a senior couple entered the store. I counted a total of 10 people, 11 if you count the child in the company of an adult.

The total counts include both staff and customers, since without my glasses I could not differentiate them. Both stores are roughly the same size; the Apple store may be a bit bigger.

The journalist then interviewed the senior VP for Sony Retail who said that their stores get 350K visitors annually and that Sony stores cannot be compared to Apple stores because a sony store was designed as a, "fashion boutique for women and children". Um... right.

Update Sat Jun 02 21:08:43 2007: a 2001 BusinessWeek commentary predicts that Apple stores will fail.

Surface, Foleo

hardware surface foleo

Sat Jun 02 11:52:28 2007

Blah blah blah Surface from Microsoft and Foleo from Palm. Blah blah blah.


New Toys


Sun Jun 03 13:01:37 2007

Left: A few weeks ago, I received a gift from Sun as a thank-you for filling out the Solaris BigAdmin Survey— it's a really nice pen, well balanced and comfortable to write with smoothly; the caption reads "SysAdmins Rule". Middle: On Friday, my order of LEGO Community Workers minifigs arrived. Right: I built a Steve Jobs LEGO minifig with a black turtleneck and blue-jeans.


software screensaver lissart beos

Sun Jun 03 14:38:37 2007

Lissart is a BeOS inspired screensaver. It goes well with the Andante of Mozart's Piano concerto No. 2 (which happened to be playing while I was mesmerized by the geometry). Each figure begins as a seemingly random collection of straight lines but slowly materializes into a beautiful geometric figure with curves.

D-Day: June 29th

hardware iphone ads

Mon Jun 04 08:37:47 2007

It seems that this year, D-Day will be on Friday, June 29th according to three new iPhone ads that were broadcast on TV, yesterday.

In typical fashion, a release date of "late June" has transformed into the last possible weekday in June. Why can't they just say "end of June"?

music service

We believe over the next two years we might lose $40 million. We expect up to 70 percent of people will be freeloaders just listening to the music but around 30 percent will be buying music.
—Bill Nguyen, founder

Tue Jun 05 23:11:01 2007

You can upload your iTunes tracks to and be a DJ on your personal music station. If you like a track you're listening to on another station (playlist), you can buy it and download it to your iPod.

Update Wed Jun 06 13:51:13 2007: Around 1PM, I accessed the site and selected "Mellow 70s music" playlist from the front page. "Here comes the Sun" was followed by "I'm sorry" by John Denver, then the player hung while neither the album cover of "Jefferson Starship" nor the track played. After a while, I pressed next track and it continued. The next track was by "The Band", which I skipped because it was not "mellow" and a Paul McCartney track followed. I then searched for "Paul McCartney" and the player stopped playing while the search results displayed. I noticed that a few tracks from his latest album were available but none of them played. I gave up. It doesn't help that the site is slow as a pig. There's also a problem with usability— there are "play" buttons strewn all over the page rather than being in a single logical place.

MacBook Pro Models Updated

Yesterday, Apple announced updated models of the 15 inch and 17 inch MacBook Pro notebook (I refuse to call them laptop) computers. The 15 inch model is notable for having an LED-based LCD backlight and the 17 inch is notable for having an optional 1920x1200 LCD display. Also, the 15 inch model has a 60Wh battery giving 6h of usage while the 17 inch model (weighing 1.4lbs more) has a 68 Wh battery giving 5.75h of usage.

elf's Bookshelf

book reviews

Thu Jun 07 13:14:19 2007

I've created a separate page with all my book reviews. The latest review is Robert Baer's “See no Evil” which I recommend even though I haven't finished reading it.

WWDC 2007 Preview

wwdc2007 rumours

Fri Jun 08 14:06:30 2007

We realized any app we released based on Tiger was going to look really pathetic when Leopard came out.
—Wil Shipley

Flickr has a photoset of the preparations for WWDC 2007, hosted at the Moscone Center in San Francisco and beginning with Monday's keynote address at 1 PM EST by Steve Jobs. This year's slogans, "Mac OS X Leopard: Rocket Fuel for your Apps" and a very long banner with, "Welcome to WWDC 2007: Expand your universe."

The latest rumour claims that the iMac will come in an aluminum finish, even though past WWDCs have not seen a consumer-class computer announced. I predict a 12 inch subnotebook/tablet/iPod with a multi-touch interface because that's what I want to see next from Apple. (And I will keep saying this until there is one).

In terms of rumoured new features for Leopard, Wired says that Core Animation promises to change the face of your desktop (I want to see windows fold like pieces of paper when I iconify them) and Sun announced that ZFS (Americans pronounce it "ZEE-eff-ess", which Canadians mis-hear as "VEE-eff-ess" (VFS) because we tend to say "ZED-eff-ess") will ship with Leopard (though I don't think it will be the default OS as it's not a bootable filesystem) and will probably be used for filesystem snapshots by TimeMachine.

Update Sat Jun 09 08:35:22 2007: Wired blogger Fred Vogelstein speculates on a possible collaboration between Google and Apple where Google provides the infrastructure to an improved .Mac service (with ads, of course).

I'm sure a few more rumours about Apple's plans will emerge before Monday. Hopefully, Steve Jobs won't dissappoint us. Everything is possible until it doesn't happen.

Bad Taste


Sat Jun 09 10:16:37 2007

The beautiful opening of Martin Amis' article, "Jane's World" in the Jan. 8, 1996 New Yorker magazine:

Currently, it seems, Jane Austen is hotter than Quentin Tarantino. But before we try to establish what the Austen phenomenon is, let us first establish what it is not. About eighteen months ago, I went to see "Four Weddings and a Funeral" at a North London cineplex. Very soon, I was filled with a yearning to be doing something else (standing at a bus stop in the rain, for example); and under normal circumstances I would have walked out after ten or fifteen minutes. But these weren't normal circumstances. Beside me sat Salman Rushdie. For various reasons— various security reasons— we had to stay. Thus the Ayatollah Khomeini had condemned me to sit through "Four Weddings and a Funeral"; and no Iranian torturer could have elicited a greater variety of winces and flinches, of pleadings and whimperings. One was obliged to submit and absorb a few social lessons, in agonizing surroundings. It felt like a reversal of the Charles Addams cartoon: I sat there, throughly aghast, while everyone about me (save the author of "The Satanic Verses") giggled and gurgled, hugging themselves with the deliciousness of it all. The only good bit was when you realized that the titular funeral was going to feature Simon Callow. I clenched my fist and said yes. At least one of them was going to die.

"Well," I said when it was over, "that was bottomlessly horrible. Why is it so popular?"

"Because," said Salman, "the world has bad taste. Didn't you know that?"

Migrating from HFS+ to ZFS

zfs filesystem

Sun Jun 10 08:17:03 2007

Migrating to a new filesytem is like moving to a new house— you have to pack all your belongings up, move them over and then unpack them again— so this means backing-up all your files, formatting the drive with the new filesystem and then restoring the files you backed-up.

If you're clever, however, you can do it another way. Apple has patented a way to migrate from one filesystem to another without disturbing the files on the first filesystem.

It is too early in the morning for me to understand the flowchart that describes the migration process so all I can suggest is to visit YouTube and search for the first part of the Doctor Who episode called "Robots of Death" and watch the Doctor explain to Leela how the TARDIS is bigger on the inside than on the outside.

WWDC 2007 Live


Mon Jun 11 13:19:14 2007

I'm watching/reading it live on Macrumours.

Fifteen minutes of introductionary presentations including John Carmack demo'ing his new game engine, before getting to Leopard— 67% (22M) using Tiger, 23% still using Panther and 10% using other versions. New Desktop with a 3D-looking dock and "stacks" of icons/documents behind each dock element, folders in the dock expand to show their contents. New Finder with an improved sidebar, looks like iTunes.

1:30PM CoverFlow in the Finder. Spotlight searches remote computers. [What I want to know is whether the Finder updates immediately when a new file is created.] QuickLook allows you to read files without opening the application used to create it [I assume a pre-rendered PDF is saved somewhere]. Leopard is 64bit and also runs 32bit apps.

1:40PM Core Animation Demo.

1:43 BootCamp is builtin.

1:45 Spaces demo [Meh. I want the infinite fractal desktop].

1:48 Dashboard and webclips— "make your own widgets".

1:54 iChat with Keynote and iPhoto sharing [iChat has bluescreen capabilities (aka iChat Theater); now, how about a bluescreen plugin for iMovie?].

2:01PM Time Machine with QuickLook. Wireless backup with a drive plugged into an AirStation [Time to get one of these, I suppose].

2:07 Leopard shipping in October. Basic version, $129. Premium version, $129. Business version, $129, Enterprise version $129. Ultimate version, $129.

2:11 One more thing... Safari on Windows (as predicted by someone). [Meh. Who cares?] 18 Million Safari users with marketshare of 4.9%; IE has 78%; Firefox 15%; others 2%. Runs some benchmarks. [Safari is fast b/c it doesn't have any plugins.]

2:15 One last thing... iPhone ships June 29th at 6:00PM [Good Grief!]. Developers can develop apps for iPhone— no SDK needed just AJAX and Web2.0 and Safari.

Mon Jun 11 15:41:31 2007: Just moments after I visited to check out the latest trailers, the re-designed site went online. The jelly-buttons in the tabbar have changed to the unified grey look. The accessibility page features the new synthesized voice: Alex, which is pretty amazingly natural sounding.

New Kodak Image Sensors


Thu Jun 14 14:09:01 2007

New Kodak image sensors promise better photographs without the need for flash.

The design of almost all color image sensors is based on the "Bayer Pattern," an arrangement of red, green, and blue pixels that was first developed by Kodak scientist Dr. Bryce Bayer in 1976. Kodak's new proprietary technology builds on the existing Bayer Pattern by adding panchromatic, or "clear" pixels to the red, green, and blue pixels already on the sensor. Since these pixels are sensitive to all wavelengths of visible light, they collect a significantly higher proportion of the light striking the sensor. The remaining red, green, and blue pixels are then used to record the color information of the scene. To reconstruct a full color image, Kodak has also developed new software algorithms specifically designed to work with the raw data generated from these new image sensors.

2007 MacTech 25


Sat Jun 16 20:44:51 2007

The MacTech 25 honors the most influential people in the Macintosh community.

Looking through the list, I recognize only a couple of personalities by name, however the popularity of either their software (TextMate, NetNewsWire) or their contributions to the Mac community (,, preceeds them.

Mac Video Guide

dvd video

TwoADay has a great article summarizing solutions to watching/converting/transcoding DVD videos. I like the idea that I can take a 8GB DVD and use Handbrake to create an H264 .mp4 file that fits onto a single-layer DVD and then use iDVD to master it. Have to try this.

ATP Toughdrive 1GB USB Key


Sun Jun 17 00:01:40 2007

One things leads to another... I was looking through the Staples flyer for this month and I noticed that a Sandisk 2GB CF card was on sale for $60...hmmm, I thought that's pretty cheap, isn't it... so I decided to check Futureshop and Blacks to see if they were selling it any cheaper... while at Blacks I stumbled across a 1GB USB key called the Toughdrive. After a bit of Googling, I found a review at ThinkComputers, where the drive is dropped into a Ziploc™ bag filled with water, then popped into a freezer and frozen solid; later it's thawed out and tested for data retention.

I think I'll pop-into Blacks on the way in to work next week, and see if they have one in stock; it's only $40.

My boss could probably use one too— every time he gets a gift freebie drive from a company, he proudly displays it to everyone and smugly attaches to his keyring. A few days later, the smugness turns to sheepishness when all remains of the key, is the cap dangling from his key-ring.

Another Hypothesis for my Theory

Sun Jun 17 07:54:11 2007

I have a theory (first mention in Oct. 2005) that people who own Macs tend to own foreign cars (there may be exceptions, but I have not come across any in my non-statistical sampling). I originally thought that the reason for this correlation was because of their aesthetic taste— people who bought Macs tended to have a greater sense of aesthetics and hence were attracted to the design of foreign cars. When I mentioned this theory to my boss, who is a domestic car owner, he claimed that he would be buying a Mac, which would prove that my theory was not true.

However, a few days ago, I was relieved when he admitted that he wouldn't be buying a Mac anytime soon; the reason— the annual maintenance costs in keeping his car running exceed one thousand dollars annually. Usually a different part needs replacing every year and he dutifully pays what the dealership mechanic says the replacement will cost. So he can't really afford to buy anything he "doesn't really need"— his current Windows/XP desktop, which he uses to VNC over to his FreeBSD server, is sufficient.

Even though I may have initially correlated Mac ownership to foreign car ownership as related to a matter of aesthetics, it now seems possible that the continual cost of keeping a domestic car running, prevents owners from being to afford a Mac. I need to test this hypothesis further.

Sun Jun 17 12:48:28 2007: Follow-up from David:

> it now seems possible that the continual cost of keeping a domestic
> car running, prevents owners from being to afford a Mac.

There is a hint of the old stereotype that Macs are more expensive that non-Macs in this statement. If you're going to buy a system nowadays there's no reason why it shouldn't be a Mac, as you can also run non-Apple OSes on it as well if need be.

While there are certainly no "cheap" Macs, similarly spec'd machines are quite close in price. Whether you actually need the specs of a Mac is quite another matter (though there's the mini which is sufficient for most everyday tasks), and a lot of people don't need anything more than a cheap-o system to do the things they need (presumably with a suitable OS, which may nor may not be dependable).

While aesthetics may have something to do with these choices, another factor may be the value judgements of what the purchasers deem as "quality" or "good enough" or "this is what meets my needs" (if not wants). There may be a sense of false economy in going with something that has a lower price, but ends of having a higher cost (one should always add $100 to the price of a Windows machine for anti-virus software).

I'm thinking of labelling the following as Magda's Law: Pay now or pay later. (Though I don't claim to have invented the term.)

I would have to agree about the hint of a stereotype. I sense a certain reluctance from my boss towards buying a Mac. It seems that just as he gets close to buying one, there's another excuse ready and waiting in the wings. In a recent conversation, he said he was considering buying an embedded Linux system (as his desktop client) that has an "instant-on" capability because he doesn't want to have to wait for a computer to wake-up when he needs it. I said that a Mac takes around 10 seconds to wake-up from a hibernated state and I proved it to him by hibernating the Mini and waking it up again— 12s counting verbally.

I sensed indifference after the demonstration. On the other hand, when I played the Leopard Preview videos he was wowed by the Coverflow demo playing videos in the Finder and with the iPhoto feature demo movie (which I downloaded to show my sister later, to convince her of one of the Mac's capabilities).

XP Safari

Sun Jun 17 19:31:03 2007

Mike Elgan, from Computerworld, wrote a commentary about Apple's entry into the the web browser arena on XP. He claims (and I agree) that Apple traditionally doesn't compete with anyone else because they create their own playing field and dominate it completely. I would have to take exception, however, with his statement that:

Windows users are forced to use iTunes if they want to play their iPods, which, like everyone else, they do. But it's a painful, time-consuming and irritating experience for many who are used to largely standardized Windows conventions of button, bar and menu placement and functionality.

Perhaps I am the only Windows user who didn't have an iPod, but was introduced to iTunes after buying one for his brother (who taught with Macs), despite being being a long-time WinAMP user, and ultimately switched entirely to the Mac because of the enjoyable iTunes experience. (Though, iTunes has become overly featurefull and more complicated than it needs to be; the preference settings need to be re-thought).

Apple didn't enter the browser arena to pick a fight with MS and IE (if it does win a few more switchers, all the better). The intent was to create an increased developer base for third-party iPhone applications which run in Safari. The browser was announced at the Developer Conference, after all.

Same old Google

Sun Jun 17 20:19:16 2007

If you need to know how long it takes to fly from New York to Los Angeles, don't ask Google, ask Yahoo!. Quite ironic.

Google has been around for, I don't know how many years, and we're still searching for things based on phrases separated by '+' signs, rather than using questions, concepts or ideas. It's sad, really.

iPhone Frenzy Builds

hardware iphone

Mon Jun 18 21:39:24 2007

Don't go to an Apple store. It will be a madhouse there. People will be lined up around the block, sleeping on the sidewalk to get one. Go to an AT&T store.
—Steve Jobs

The most hyped consumer electronics device in years will make its debut on June 29, but Apple Inc.'s iPhone will be conspicuously absent from Canadian store shelves. Sold out? No– just not for sale.
—Catherine McLean, Globe and Mail

After Apple announced improved battery specs for the iPhone, today, its stock price went up by $3. The frenzy continues with two articles in today's Globe and Mail— one in the Life section and the other in the Business section, both about a product that will not be available in Canada for a few months after it's released in the U.S. on July 29th, at 6 P.M.— just in time for the evening news.

The article in the Life section mentioned celebrities rumoured to have one (Madonna) and celebrities who are going to have to buy one just like the rest of the mortals (Steven Colbert, who showed-off his advanced copy of the final Harry Potter book and demanded his iPhone; and an unnamed N.Y. celebrity who has bid $10,000 for one).

The article in the Business section dealt with the size of the Canadian marketplace (Canada has 1/10th of the population of the U.S.) and according to an analyst, the iPhone would be a niche product with, "far more admirers than buyers" because of it's high cost— Canadians are used to getting free, or low-cost, phones with their service plan.

iPhone Hits & Misses

hardware iphone

Tue Jun 19 16:09:36 2007

After seeing a few more details about the iPhone browser guidelines (including the User Agent), I though I'd grep through my access logs to see if any pages had been accessed via the iPhone. I found only one hit, on April 11th (I have masked-out the first two octets of the IP, which is from a wireless provider in New Jersey). - - [11/Apr/2007:18:14:15 -0400] 
"GET /~elf/hack/3-wise-men.html HTTP/1.1" 200 1648 
"Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; XXX XX like Mac OS X; en) AppleWebKit/420+ 
(KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.0 Mobile/1A 474a Safari/419.3"

Given the content of the page accessed, perhaps Dennis Ritchie has an iPhone (at least, someone at (AT&T) Lucent Bell Labs, which is located in New Jersey, has one). Compare revision "1A 474a" (April) with the current "1A 538a" (June) and the "XXX XX" after "iPhone; U;" has now been replaced with the word "CPU"):

Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU like Mac OS X; en) AppleWebKit/420+
(KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.0 Mobile/1A538a Safari/419.3

Chatting on IRC with someone who spotted a "50+" woman using an iPhone on the bus (SF Bay area). Her call dropped in the middle of the conversation (typical for the area and the bus) and when she re-dialed, the observation was, "it looked like a pain in the a-- when she was dialing. well i think she kept mis-hitting keys on the touchscreen".

I would have assumed that the QA people at Apple would be younger, but it makes sense to have older people doing QA.

Update Wed Jun 20 07:39:46 2007: Taking the build-numbers and assuming a sequential increase, 538-474=64. Compare with the number of days between the access date, April 11, and WWDC2007 on June 11: 61 days. This gives us one build per day of the iPhone OS X. The missing 3 days could mean that perhaps the developers got one day a month off.



Fri Jun 22 16:50:24 2007

Now this is a panorama!

It is a 360° panorama of King's College circle at UofT's downtown campus. It was generated using Photoshop with a polar co-ordinate distortion.


Ordered Medium iPhotobooks

Fri Jun 22 18:30:34 2007

I ordered 3 soft-cover, 30-page medium-sized iPhotobooks (USD$15 each). They should arrive in 5-8 business days. The file-size was 11.5MB.

Tue Jun 26 18:16:45 2007 Received an email saying my order shipped. Estimated delivery June 28 by 5PM, according to FedEx.

When I tried laying out the photos in the large (8.5x11) photobook I was surprised that a single 3.2MP image (taken with my old Canon S30) placed on a page generated a warning about print-image quality (that it may not print well). So I switched to the smaller, medium-sized book.

Later, I tested a 5MP image (Canon S60) full-page in a 8.5x11 photobook with no complaints from iPhoto.

I had previously ordered the small photobook and was not impressed with the print-quality.

"Everything I Know About Design I Learned from The Sopranos"

Fri Jun 22 18:30:34 2007

Good tips for designers, but only read it if you're a fan of the TV show. The best line is, "Designers, however, believe that advanced technology is our best proof that God exists— and that He lives in Cupertino, California."

iPhone: T-6 Days


Sat Jun 23 12:34:04 2007

It all started in 1999, when was registered...

Macworld starts a dedicated blog, iPhone Central, exclusively dedicated to the iPhone.

You should be able to buy an iPhone and use it as a widescreen iPod, without paying AT&T for getting the phone part of it enabled. By this time next week, we will know for sure. Update: unfortunately using it as an iPod requires iPhone activation.

Yesterday, Apple released a 20 minute video with tutorials on using the iPhone. First, I found the narrator's voice slightly annoying and second, I was surprised at the inconsistent user-interface— to zoom-in photos, you use the "stretch" stroke with thumb and forefinger, but with to zoom-in to a map, you double-tap the screen (if I'm remembering this correctly).

Umberto Eco on Casablanca

Sat Jun 23 22:25:09 2007

...Casablanca is not just one film. It is many films, an anthology. Made haphazardly, it probably made itself, if not actually against the will of its authors and actors, then at least beyond their control. And this is the reason it works...
—Umberto Eco

Umberto Eco comments on Casablanca (one of my favourite movies).

I think Kill Bill Vol.1 works for the same reasons— it's a heap of kung-fu movie clichés cooked together with just the right mixture of seasoning (Tarantino's knack for picking great music to fit his scenes).

Ignis Fatui

software screensaver

Sun Jun 24 17:52:31 2007

A promising screensaver called Ignis Fatui. I'll try it out next week.

Update Mon Jun 25 12:16:21 2007: Very niiiiiiice. It's now my default screensaver with "direction" set to "up" and "colours" set to "cycle".

Out of the Woods

Sun Jun 24 20:04:04 2007

I took a few pictures of a wooded lot near where I live and stitched a couple of them together to generate a panorama. The natural photo looks quite ordinary, but after I pass it through the Dry Brush filter in Photoshop, I find that it looks more appealing. Click on the thumbnail for a low-resolution version of the "painting".

It needs a bit more tweaking (I haven't signed it)— I think the left-hand-side is too bright; it should match the shadows on the right. I want to give the impression that the viewer is a few steps away from emerging out of a dark wood (it would spoil the magic if I revealed where I was actually standing). Note how high the sun is in the sky at 8:00PM in the evening.

iPhone: T-4 Days


Mon Jun 25 22:11:47 2007

Harvard business professor Clayton Christensen coined the phrase "disruptive innovation" to describe a new product so advanced and appealing that it displaces the technology that preceded it.
—Barrie McKenna

The Seattle Times plays 20 questions with the iPhone.

The Globe and Mail asks "Will iPhone change everything, or fall flat?".

Could Apple Inc.'s iPhone, with its vaunted multitouch screen, be the innovation that pushes aside cellphones, BlackBerrys and even PCs when it goes on sale later this week? That seems unlikely.

"There has never been a phone like iPhone, and we can't wait to get this truly magical product into the hands of customers," Apple chairman Steve Jobs said last week.

AT&T says roughly 40 per cent of people who have shown interest in the iPhone are customers of competing providers. And Apple and AT&T are demanding that customers sign a two-year service contract at about $40 a month.

Update Tue Jun 26 12:23:10 2007: Apple has announced the rate plans: USD$60, $80 and $100 for 450, 900 and 1350 minutes with unlimited data. And it seems iPhone activation is required to use the iPod features:

Minimum new 2-year wireless service plan and activation fee required to activate iPhone features, including iPod; plans are subject to AT&T credit approval.

Someone should ask Jobs why this is so.

First Review: David Pogue

Tue Jun 26 19:00:46 2007

The iPhone is revolutionary; it's flawed. It's substance; it's style. It does things no phone has ever done before; it lacks features found even on the most basic phones.
—David Pogue

David Pogue reviews the iPhone.

Tracking iPhotobook Shipment

Tue Jun 26 18:16:45 2007

Received an email from Apple saying my iPhotobooks shipped. Estimated delivery June 28 by 5PM, according to FedEx tracking. I installed Delivery Status widget, by Mike Piontek, to track the shipment. It loaded and so far is working as advertised. Very pretty widget.

VMware Video Contest

vmware iphone

Wed Jun 27 16:35:23 2007

VMware is having a video contest where VMware users can, "tell the world how virtualization has changed [their] life or the great things [they] are doing with VMware products". What is notable, is that the 2nd prize is an iPhone. Does anyone really care about what the 1st prize is?

How much did you say...?

Wed Jun 27 18:58:12 2007 calculated that over the 2-years of ownership, the iPhone will cost, at minimum, USD$2,241. That's the cost of a notebook (Macbook or whatever) and if you factor-in Skype, you can make phone calls from a hotspot with the remaining money. And you have Java, Flash, and a tactile keyboard.

Update Wed Jun 27 22:02:40 2007: Note that this is not meant as a criticism of either the cost or the features of the iPhone. I have never owned a cell phone nor do I plan on owning one in the forseeable future— there is no one that needs to reach me at all hours of the day or night. I am prepared to wait until I get home or to work if I need network connectivity; I have even lived through a week without connectivity.

A Good Story

Thu Jun 28 22:13:05 2007

I love a good story, especially one that's well told.

iPhone D-Day


Fri Jun 29 13:17:42 2007

WSJ has an interview with Steve Jobs and the AT&T CEO, whose name nobody will remember when the history books talk about how the face of telephony changed inevitably, for the better, at 6PM, today.

One of the things we feel is this is the biggest breakthrough in user interfaces in 23 years. Since the Mac in 1984 brought us the mouse and bit map displays and folders and icons, there really hasn't been much except for the evolution of that in the last 23 years. This is a revolutionary user interface [on the iPhone] -- multi-touch, direct action. It's pretty remarkable. I'm very excited.

I remember the week before we introduced the Mac. We knew every computer would work this way once we had the Mac. You couldn't talk about 'If,' you could debate about 'When.' That's how I feel about this. I feel this is the direction mobile devices are going to have to go. I don't think it's a matter of if, it's a matter of when. The first and most breakthrough one of them is going to be on the market tomorrow.

—Steve Jobs

A few online forums are reporting that AT&T network EDGE data-rates are averaging 200kbps and better (up from typically 90kbps) in select cities around the U.S. Yesterday, the reason for selecting EDGE (which the BlackBerry uses) was to give the iPhone, longer battery life. In the interview, there is an interesting sentence from the AT&T CEO, "...what you're going to see with the iPhone is the caching technology that Steve and the Apple guys have developed here makes the EDGE experience even better". Hmmm.

Medium-sized iPhotobook Review

Fri Jun 29 15:30:11 2007

The books were delivered yesterday, just after noon. When I got home in the evening, I opened up the large FedEx envelope, and found that there was a second, smaller FedEx envelope inside, containing the three medium iPhotobooks. I was surprised how big the books were; I was expecting something half the size.

Each book comes packaged in a re-sealable transparent plastic envelope (just like the mini photobooks). The paper is heavy and glossy (even though the description says semi-glossy). The printing is excellent (primary colours are vibrant), though there is a very faint vertical colour banding in some photos— I would say the reproduction is close to photographic quality. Making the photobook in iPhoto, doesn't provide a good feel for what the actual product will look like, especially with respect to font sizes for the photo captions (I expected the printed font to be smaller).

Some tips:

Final verdict: I'm happy how they turned out. I would choose this size in the future; the cost is higher but the quality is better than the mini iPhotobooks.

iPhone Surgery


Sat Jun 30 09:04:42 2007

iFixit has disassembled an iPhone.

Update Mon Jul 02 08:40:44 2007: EE Times also disassembled an iPhone and identified all the components. The CPU is an ARM variant sold by Samsung S5L8900 (it has a Java execution engine even though the iPhone does not support Java). The iPhone shares many components with the iPod including RAM (Samsung Flash) and the audio codec (Wolfson).

iTune 7.3 Released

iTunes 7.3 was released prior to the iPhone's debut as iPhone activation and syncing is done via iTunes.

luis fernandes / G4 PowerBook Journal, Part 27 / Last Modified: Wed Jul 04 14:11:01 2007