Monday, January 12, 2009

Here's Ballmer's Sign

Here you go! I pointed out this stupid bumble months ago. Why not go ahead and admit this for OS X and the Mac. Here's your sign, Steve: "I'm stupid."

Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer, who once laughed off the iPhone, has now conceded to Apple's edge in the market while hinting at a very different future for his company's Zune players.

Ballmer told the Financial Times (registration required) that the iPhone and BlackBerry have "clear market momentum" in the smartphone business.

Shortly after the iPhone was announced at Macworld 2007, Ballmer lambasted the Apple handset as the "most expensive phone in the world" while noting that Microsoft sells "millions and millions and millions of phones a year" while "Apple sells zero."

[From AppleInsider | Ballmer changes tune on iPhone, says no Zune phone]

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Apple goes 'nickle-and-dime'ing'

I do find this a bit troubling. Guess I'll wait for a pissed off developer out there to write code that will remove the DRM from my iTMS purchases for free. I would have to pay Apple a lot of money to remove the DRM from what I've bought, and since I've given them a lot of money this year already for new hardware and software, I'm in no mood. }:-( There are other convoluted solutions, of course, but many don't retain the original file's quality.

Apple has dropped DRM from iTunes — and is offering to remove their DRM from music you already bought for the low, low fee of $0.30 per song.

[From Apple: Give Us Money And We'll Remove DRM From Your Music]

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Forget Vista and Zune flaws, Apple products impose 'tax'

When your OS market share is falling to a superior product (because your fallible copycat product--Vista--doesn't work), it's time to pull out the big guns and slam the competition. Here's the scoop: Do Macs cost more than PCs? Yes. Are they worth the price difference? YES, YES, YES. I just retired a G4 after 8 years of faithful service. How many PC users can say that?

By the time a PC user buys add-ons, security software, upgrades, downgrades to XP, and wastes hours troubleshooting the most banal OS issues that Mac users never confront, I assert that they've SPENT MORE than a Mac user! Clearly, the Mac is the better deal, in the long run, and it's just a better product. Otherwise, why would Microsoft keep copying--albeit poorly--EVERYTHING Apple does?

Microsoft again pitted Mac prices against similarly-configured Windows PCs from the likes of Dell and Hewlett-Packard.

Not surprisingly, Microsoft's comparisons put Apple's hardware at a disadvantage, with the "tax" ranging from 16 per cent, or $100, for the entry-level Mac mini to 25 per cent, or $300, for the lowest-priced iMac desktop.

Microsoft also played the recession card as it knocked Apple's prices. "We're in the midst of difficult economic times - declining retail sales and lower consumer confidence," a Microsoft spokeswoman said. "People are...demanding more substance with their style in a computer. They simply do not have the luxury of spending more for less.”

"Windows PCs are offering the best value on the market," she argued, "while Apple continues to impose high price premiums on their Mac designs, offering only modest discounts of 5 to 10 per cent."

[From Microsoft bangs 'Apple tax' drum once again as Apple announce new products - Mac - Macworld UK]

Maybe this is Microsuck's attempt to make you forget about their crappy OSX copy called Vista (since the Mojave campaign isn't working), or maybe they're trying to make you forget that the Zune recently stopped working because of bad programming.

Here’s the deal. Microsoft botched the code in the firmware for its Zune30GB handheld players. Like a ticking time bomb, the problem started exploding for Zune owners once 2008 started transitioning into 2009. Users worldwide quickly found that their Zunes were completely locked out. Locked out as in "completely inoperable," that is: Zunes began resetting without warning or completely turning off. When a user flipped the power back on, the Zune operating system would begin to load and freeze on the actual loading screen. And no amount of begging, pleading, or cursing could fix the issue for a hapless user.Microsoft was quick on the "solution," which I’ve paraphrased thusly: Wait it out.

[From ZuneGate ’08: What really happened | Macworld]

Monday, January 05, 2009

Silent Keynote Exports

If your Keynote exports are all fury and no sound, follow the instructions below to fix them.

After recording your narration, move to the Finder, Control-click on your presentation file, and choose Show Package Contents. In the resulting window, locate the narrationTrack0.m4a file. This is your narration track. Make a copy and move it to the Desktop.

Open both the narration and video files in QuickTime Player Pro. Select the audio track, select everything in it, and copy. Now select the video track and choose Edit -> Add to Movie. The audio track will be added to the video track.

With luck, the two will be in sync. If not, you might wish, instead, to import the video track into GarageBand and then place the audio track in a separate track and move it around so the two are in sync.
[From A fix for mute Keynote exports | Mac 911 | Macworld]

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Leap-year bug kills Zune

To quote Star Wars: Now Ballmer's failure is complete.

December 31, 2008 (IDG News Service) Microsoft's Zune 30GB music player just wasn't ready for a leap year.

That's what owners of the devices discovered Wednesday morning when they awoke to find their players frozen and unworkable.

The problem turned out to be "a bug in the internal clock driver related to the way the device handles a leap year," Microsoft Zune spokesman Matt Akers said in a posting to Zune forums Wednesday. The issue does not affect all Zune players, but all models of the Zune 30GB are potentially affected, he said.

Zune is Microsoft's alternative to Apple's popular iPod devices.

The bug disabled the players on Dec. 31, the last day of a leap year. Microsoft expects that the bug will resolve itself by Jan. 1, when the device's internal clock will reset itself.   [From Zune chokes on leap-year bug]