And then I found this…
This is just out of control.
Lets start with my bedroom. Here’s a nice shot of a G5 iMac. This was never my iMac, so I’m not sure why it’s in my room.
I couldn’t help but grab this pic of Jurassic TV fossils sitting next to my old desk. Turns out it costs money to throw them away.
Loved these fanless iMacs. This was my youngest brother’s first computer.
Ahh the Sunflower iMac. I think this was my middle brother’s.
OK, I lied. This one is still in use. Incredible (embarrassing?) that we have owned one of every form factor.
There have been many complaints about the data behind Apple’s new Maps app, and they are all certainly valid. However, my mother pointed out one non-data shortcoming that I have not seen mentioned elsewhere. When she goes on a trip, she likes to map out the directions on her computer, review the route, and then send those directions to her iPhone.
In iOS 5, clicking that link would open up the Maps app. However, with iOS 6, clicking that link instead opens Google’s website in Safari. That makes sense to me technically, but it is certainly a step backwards for users. So, it got me thinking: “how does Apple handle the new URL scheme they’ve got with iOS 6?”
According to this developer document, you can open the new Maps app, centered on Cupertino with this URL:
Likewise, you can open up directions in the new Maps app using a link formed like this:
Indeed, on my new iPhone, loading those links in Safari automatically opens the Maps app. However, when loading those links on a PC, you are redirected to Google Maps. Maybe this had already been revealed, but it is news to me.
You may have noticed that those URLs look very familiar. In fact, Apple’s Maps URL scheme very closely mimics Google’s. It is so close, that you can take any link to a Google Map, replace the “google” in the URL with “apple,” send it to an iPhone, and voila, the Maps app will automatically open up. (Enormous caveat being that you will then get Apple’s directions, not Google’s).
Last Sunday, I called Verizon to see if I could test my line prior to the technician arriving. The woman was rude, speaking sarcastically with me: “How could we test the line before we’ve turned it on?”
Then she told me the technician would test it when he arrived for the all day appointment I had scheduled on Wednesday.
Waitaminute! The previous representative told me that they just flip a switch and he assured me I would not need to be home. I can’t be home on Wednesday. Even if I could be home, can’t you narrow it down beyond “All Day?”
No. They can’t.
I took the day off Wednesday to wait for Verizon to come install my DSL. (Somehow “self installation kit” doesn’t actually mean that). At 4:30PM, half an hour before the end of my 8 hour installation window, I called customer service.
Sir I’m sorry to inform you that the technician got held up at an earlier job, and we will be unable to install your service today.
I was steaming mad, but I kept my cool. I asked the representative what she could do to compensate me for wasting my entire day. She offered to waive the installation fee of $19.95. Then she offered discounted anti-virus software. Then she offered to sell me DirecTV. Then she asked me if I wanted to bundle my cell phone with the Verizon bill.
Strike 3. (Also the other 26 outs)
So I canceled my appointment and my account, destined to poach lousy service from my neighbor until the expiration of my Time Warner 45 day lockout. Then I decided, on a lark, to try signing up for Time Warner Extreme internet in my wife’s name. I’d been told it wouldn’t work, but what harm could it possibly do?
Monday morning, they will come and install Extreme internet between 10am and noon, a two hour window. Unbelievable.
Don’t fuck this up guys.
There have been several reports over the last few days that Apple has been in talks with cable providers to provide live television via an upgraded (or new) Apple TV. I was skeptical at first. Would Apple really want to deal with the mess that is cable cards? Or the hassle of getting the cable providers on board with integration? Especially as more and more people are quitting cable.
Then I remembered the Steve Jobs quote in Walter Isaacson’s book regarding Apple TV: “I finally cracked it.” Obviously, Steve had an “ah ha” moment. What if that idea was this:
Integrate Apple TV with cable provider existing streaming services. Time Warner and Comcast each have an iPad app that allows you to watch live TV. You just have to convince the providers to offer a streaming only plan*.
Cable companies would be happy because they could continue to control access to live entertainment. They could even continue to bundle their services, making more money than they can just offering internet. They even get the side benefit of no longer having to support their horrendous technology.
Apple would be happy because it could control the user experience, and serve as the sole solution to the living room problem. Essentially, the cable company becomes an app next to Hulu and Netflix. And, it would allow Apple to focus on the technology rather than on getting and maintaining content deals for iTunes, which have proved difficult in some cases.
* I realize this is harder said than done. They have their own deals with content providers that my preclude this. But the cable companies would have a much easier time negotiating streaming access with providers than Apple does. The cable companies have far more leverage.
After learning about Time Warner’s 45 day waiting period before they will let you sign up as a new customer, I checked out Verizon.com. Unfortunately, my building isn’t FIOS ready, so I had to go with DSL. Of course, Verizon has it’s own set of insane policies I had to navigate.
First of all, you cannot sign up for just Internet: You must also get phone service. Why? Probably because no one wants a home phone (myself included). But at that point, I was completely out of options. So, I chose the phone and DSL bundle at the introductory rate of $45 a month. The 3.1Mbps DSL is slower than the cable modem I gave up last week.
Then came the real insult. When I clicked next on the sign-up form, it said the earliest activation date was August 22. “That’s a week and a half away, can’t you do anything sooner?” I typed to the chat representative. No, they can’t. Then I asked if I’d need to be home for the install. “No, we just flip a switch in our office.”
Then why the hell can’t you flip it sooner?
The DSL modem showed up yesterday, giving me over a week with a useless box sitting in my apartment, and no Internet. OK, I lied: I signed up for LTE service on my iPad. (Of course AT&T won’t let me tether, but I digress)
The only positive thing about this whole debacle is that I now have a new strategy for screwing over Time Warner. I’ll sign up for Verizon DSL for two months at the introductory rate. Then, when my 45 day waiting period is over, I will switch back to Time Warner for WideBand. I can just keep doing this year after year, locking in the best rate possible, screwing over Time Warner in my own little way.
I’ve had plenty of problems with Time Warner’s customer service over the years. And granted, I am trying to do something they don’t want you to do. So I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that three different representatives gave me three different answers about how I would be able to sign back up after canceling my account, but none of them mentioned the 45 day waiting period before I was even allowed to have a new account.
The policy is designed to prevent existing customers from getting new customer deals by canceling and immediately signing back up. It makes sense, and if I had known about it, I would have dealt with the hassle of talking to Earthlink to cancel my service with them, then getting back in touch with Time Warner to switch my service to RoadRunner.
But on Friday, when I called up to deal with yet another “hold” on my new order, the representative mentioned the 45 day waiting period casually: “Oh that might be the problem.” He was actually very nice, and attempted to subvert their systems to get me what I wanted, but in the end, all he could do was “escalate the issue.”
Then, on Sunday, I spoke with another representative. This woman talked over me, refused to listen to my problem, and transferred me to a different department while I was asking her a question. Classic Time Warner customer service.
So, I hung up and called Verizon.