Saturday, June 28, 2008

Picasso Thoughts

Distilled and reposted from Paintalicious. I liked the quotes without any explanation better. It's a nifty blog.

  • "He can who thinks he can, and he can’t who thinks he can’t. This is an inexorable, indisputable law."
  • "I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it."
  • "Inspiration exists, but it has to find us working."
  • "Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone."
  • "Action is the foundational key to all success."
  • "Others have seen what is and asked why. I have seen what could be and asked why not."
  • "If only we could pull out our brain and use only our eyes."
  • "Youth has no age."

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Netflix does a Notflix

Nasty little email from Netflix came in today stating that multiple Profiles in a Netflix account will be terminated as of September 1st.

To understand this, let's back up and examine why multiple profiles in a single account are useful. Here is a simple example, you have a spouse or a child who does not share your taste in movies, rather then fighting for control over the Que, each can have their very own queue. Each can manage it separately. Say little Bobby wants to rent The Incredibles for the 4th time, that takes a slot out of his queue, not yours. Your movies keep coming no matter how long he keeps the disc.

I use it and I like it a lot, it was just one more sign that Netflix was working to build the best movie rental system for the customer. Now it seems that they are starting to forget about the customer. This is the only thing that can kill them. Blockbuster with all their might, marketing, and cash could not. Nor could WalMart, or even Amazon. They all died at the gates because the one golden rule of Netflix was that the customer was king.

Maybe it won't be all doom and gloom, maybe I'm overreacting, maybe Netflix will survive and thrive.

I'd be a lot more optimistic had they been more honest about their reasons. Instead, they lob up some seriously lame spin, "While it may be disappointing to see Profiles go away, this change will help us continue to improve the Netflix website for all our customers."

UPDATE: Seems like Netflix has returned to its senses and reversed it's decision to do away with profiles:

We Are Keeping Netflix Profiles

Dear James,

You spoke, and we listened. We are keeping Profiles. Thank you for all the calls and emails telling us how important Profiles are.

We are sorry for any inconvenience we may have caused. We hope the next time you hear from us we will delight, and not disappoint, you.

-Your friends at Netflix
I'm guessing whoever wrote the first email got a little talking to about 'spinning' downgrades as upgrades. Perhaps in an effort to further that writer's career they allowed him to seek employment elsewhere.

bad apple

My MacBook died while we were in San Antonio.

It was the logic board again. At least that is the closest I could guess, Apple Care was not overly forthcoming about it.

It was no longer under warranty as I thought $250 for and extended warranty was way too much for a $1300 computer (my last computer, a $1500 Sony, had an extended warranty of only $140).

I was annoyed.

Second major hardware defect in two years.

I called to make an appointment at a (somewhat) local Apple store to have a tech, sorry, I mean 'genius' have a look at it.

On Monday I brought it in and after 15 minutes or so of history and poking around, it was decided that the problem could not be fully diagnosed or repaired at the store.

So now I ask the dreaded, 'how much will this cost' question.

This is where things start getting a little brighter, the tech (sorry, I mean genius) says there is a flat $280 repair fee.

That is still a lot, but that covers any problem they might find. And it's a firm figure, I know what I'm looking at cost wise. And, really, the chances of getting any electronic equipment fixed for less then $250 is pretty slim. I got the impression this flat rate only applied to repairs where there was a manufacturer's defect, but I'm not certain.

Ebay tells me this Mac is worth about $600, so it's a no brainer, I tell the genius to pull the trigger and get'er gone. He boxes it up and ships it to the repair center.

That was Monday, mid day.

On Wednesday, FedEx tries to deliver a package at 9:32 am, but we are not in to sign for it.

On Thursday, I take deliver of above package.

It is the repaired MacBook.

I am $300 poorer and behind in my work having been without my tool for more then a week while I was traveling, then having it repaired. The repair was to a part Apple should have done a better job of engineering. I am annoyed and angry.

But, because Apple really does seem to go the extra mile with their customer care, I am not seething with rage.

When I bought this MacBook, it was a couple of hundred dollars less then a comparable Dell, though this is no longer the case. There are both Dell and Lenovo (IBM) ThinkPads that are similar but cheaper. Except the MacBook is still one of the very few notebooks in it's class that has a DVI port (a requirement for a desktop replacement).

So the question is, would I buy a Mac again... maybe. The size and power are good, but it lacks some basic features like a graphics card and a PCI slot. But that DVI port is a must, and not many notebooks have it. And of course, there is the advantage of being able to run both OSX and Windows on one machine.

P.S. I have a white MacBook, the picture is gray for effect only. Apple still charges a premium for the black ones, so as far as I am concerned, they can keep them.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Third Place

I won third place in the photography category for 'Water and Light' at the Fifth Annual Beaux Arts Finale! It is on display through June 7th, 2008 at the Katonah Library.

Water and Light

And I showed the following two images: