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Gadgets

Apple’s moves to the future โ€” Polish, privacy, Pad, and purpose

in Biz/Gadgets/Media

I have thoughts on the announcements Apple made at it’s annual “Welcome independent developers who want to see how we’re building native features that make your apps obsolete” event. I thought to keep my yap shut on this one, but since my most-read post ever came after a WWDC and I saw some meaningful moves, I figured why not…

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Testing new plug-in Apture

in Gadgets

I’m trying out a new WordPress plug-in that enhances link content. Apture, which I discovered via someone I read on Twitter, is supposed to quickly bring in outside data and media. I, Mike Orren, will be trying it out in my next few posts.
(In other words, this post is just a goofy test and should be ignored.)

Customer service at scale, part II: Why my experiences with AT&T make me fear for GM

in Biz/Gadgets

Yeah, you may have a great big battle station, but if you waste the opportunity to shore it up, a rebeliions gonna come. (Image from The Daily Yeah.)
Yeah, you may have a great big battle station, but if you waste the opportunity to shore it up, a rebeliion's gonna come. (Image from The Daily Yeah.)

I’m going to resist the temptation to turn this post into a therapy session over the myriad problems I’ve had with AT&T over the past month. Specific situations will crop up organically in the descriptions below, but instead of a chronological chapter-and-verse story, I’m going to focus on the lessons I’ve learned about AT&T and its processes. Keep Reading

Customer service at scale, part I: Why I'm an Apple customer for life

in Gadgets

Image lifted from The Iphone Blog
Image lifted from The Iphone Blog

Yes, I can probably be classified as an Apple fanboy. But if you know me, you know my allegiance doesn’t come easy. For my purposes, Apple produces the best computer and phone technology available. But there are lots of companies that produce good technology — It is my human interactions with Apple that make me a loyalist. My experience in buying the new 3G S Iphone is one of, if not the most memorable I’ve had: Keep Reading

Boxee changes everything

in Gadgets/Media

picture-1I’ve been using my Xbox 360 as a media server in our house, but there have always been a few things that made it seem inferior. Based on buzz from folks I trust I’d played with alpha-software Boxee on my Mac a bit to see if it could be an alternative. Last week, Lifehacker ran a piece on using Boxee on an Apple TV. I’d thought for a while about building my own Linux machine to run Boxee, but I found myself at the mall last weekend, and consequently in the Apple store. Having not yet contributed to the Steve Jobs medical fund, I found myself ogling the Apple TV, which I’d originally eschewed in favor of the Xbox. But dammned if Boxee didn’t make it sound more viable; and damned if we didn’t have a big TV in the bedroom that would benefit from the Xbox. Keep Reading

Creative chaos, off the rails

in Fam/Gadgets/me, Me, ME!/Music

Partly because of my company’s new lease on life, I’m in a creative mode for the first time in, well, too long. I was making my way to work this morning, amping with coffee and good tunes and was reminded of how much I love songs where a band — usually a band that is generally technically precise — goes off the rails into a cacophony that is both sloppy and skillful. The resulting sound is loose and fun, but also suggests that it is born from an attempt to go just beyond the range of their high level of skill.
Here’s two great examples:

Sometimes, creative success requires risk.

Zoetrope blows my mind

in Gadgets/Media

Ever seen something that you so thoroughly knew was game changing that you couldn’t even effectively articulate how? Because the language actually changed with the innovation?
See Zoetrope.
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If that ain't country

in Gadgets/Music

Finally, country music appears in RockBand 2!
Oh, wait. You said Brooks & Dunn, Dixie Chicks, Miranda Lambert, and Brad Paisley?
Sigh. Nevermind.
Bonus tunes:
Hank Williams III: “Dixie” from Straight to Hell. – NSFW
Robbie Fulks: “Countrier than Thou” from Georgia Hard

When search does harm: Tech support

in Gadgets

My computer crapped out today, and in an effort to find a fix I noticed a huge weakness in search algorithms.
Longevity, traffic and inbound links are all favored, we know. And that generally is good in bringing reliable, complete results.
But when it comes to tech support, say looking for a way to make a bootable emergency disk, old reliable results aren’t what you need. Especially when they’re 2-3 years old and relate to OS features that are obsolete.
Meh. I just want to know that something other than my computer isn’t functioning properly.

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