Apple Store at Night

The Apple store is eerily empty at night. It’s only populated by reflections from the other side of the street.

apple-store-reflections

A typical Mac user is camping out even though there is no special event tomorrow.

typical-mac-user

iphone4 antenna rant

There are two types of people in this world: those who say that crushed bedbugs smell like expensive Cognac, and those who say that Cognac smells like bedbugs.

I really wish the whole Apple antennagate would be over. Because I’m tired of explaining my position on it to everybody who drools over my iphone.

I have 3 points to make:

1) The office where I work has super ridiculously terrible ATT reception despite being in direct line of view from a brutalist style building containing ATT switches. So does an underground subway station where I change trains on the way to work. The rest of NYC has simply terrible ATT reception.

I’ve tried at the office, I’ve tried underground. I’ve tried cupping any which way. I tried moistening my palms. I can’t get to get a reliable bar drop thing. Sometimes, in fact, I got more bars. Oh, and that underground subway station? None of the older iphones ever had reception there.

This is all clearly a a product of me being a “fanboi”, and being under the heavy influence of Steve Job’s reality distortion field. I think they have mobile generators transmitting that.

2) Sometimes getting more bars when cupping iphone4 gives me an idea that now it is possible to make a case that will actually boost iphone reception by possibly attaching a yagi or another type of big directional antenna to the case. Maybe even something gigantic, like the apartment tower antenna or one of those huge homemade antennas that I used to make for crystal radios.

3) Right now I’m vacationing in the Ukraine. Here you can buy a sim card for $1 that gets you a phone number. On every corner there are agents and machines that allow you to refill these sim cards with ridiculously small amounts of money that get you ridiculously cheap minutes and data. There’s no standing in line while ATT employees are chatting / checking their social networks, scratching their asses, etc. There’s no hassle with forms, accounts, etc. You spend a little money, you get your phone to work. Most phones are unlocked. Reception is excellent everywhere. I hear they are working on making iPhone’s mini sims working with iPhones. People are ready to pay just about any price for the 4th iPhone. Apple would do much better with a simple business model: phones for money here first, and then in the US for us, who have to deal with ridiculous contracts and lock-ins. Grandstanding politicians would gain my vote if they did a little trustbusting in the cellular service industry.

Apple T-Shirts: A Yearbook of History at Apple Computer

“The journey begins.”… Steve Jobs used the Zen proverb, “the journey is the reward,” to motivate engineers creating the original Macintosh. Not long after, the phrase was modified for this shirt given to all new employees during orientation.

Apple employees have long been expressing themselves with t-shirt art. For twenty years t-shirts have chronicled events and accomplishments within Apple Computer. Here to view for the first time is the unique talent and creativity of some of the world’s most ingenious employees. Their hard work is represented in over 1500 pictures of more than 1000 shirts that mark the public recognition of the milestones they have achieved.

Apple Confidential 2.0: The Definitive History of the World’s Most Colorful Company

Apple Confidential examines the tumultuous history of America’s best-known Silicon Valley start-up–from its legendary founding almost 30 years ago, through a series of disastrous executive decisions, to its return to profitability, and including Apple’s recent move into the music business. Linzmayer digs into forgotten archives and interviews the key players to give readers the real story of Apple Computer, Inc. This updated and expanded edition includes tons of new photos, timelines, and charts, as well as coverage of new lawsuit battles, updates on former Apple executives, and new chapters on Steve Wozniak and Pixar.

Masonic Apple

It’s been a few months already that I haven’t used Windows. The unreal amount of time that it takes to make Ubuntu play sound or use a second monitor and then do it again after a software update drove me straight to Mac.

By the way, why does the “applications” icon look so masonic?

Technology To Die For

I learned from a very interesting book called “Defying Gravity: The Making of Newton” that during the development of Apple Newton one engineer committed suicide. Being ahead of its time, Newton did not become popular, although it was engineered so well, that to this day many enthusiasts still use it, write software, and even make new hardware for it. I am actually thinking of buying one on eBay still.

I don’t know if anyone got hurt during the development of iPod, but it was involved in several fatalities for sure.

First, a woman beat her boyfriend to death with the device. This is reminiscent of Russian Emperor Paul I being killed with a snuff box. I was recently watching Leonid Parfenov’s awesome “Russian Empire” series, where he showed the infamous snuff box. I always thought that it was rather large, but it turns out to be about the size on an iPod.
[update] Apparently this was a hoax.

Also, a kid in Brooklyn died from a knife wound when he was being robbed of his iPod. NYPD and MTA reacted by this wonderfully cryptic ad. Without actually mentioning Apple or iPod they are urging hipsters to swap out the distinctive white iPod headphones for ugly Radioshack ones. Maybe they should also suggest buying Creative’s (or Microsoft’s when they come out) players – nobody will probably want to kill for one.


Ad:

iTalmud

And I think I know what he’s listening to.

The hobo seems to have not an iPod, but a knockoff. Still the look of white headphones is a little surreal. But then again, maybe he mugged a yuppie. Or bought one at the Apple store.

iPhoto Retro or John Sculley’s Gift To The World of Photography

I collect 20th century technology antiques. They are not expensive and don’t take up much space – perfect for my cubicle museum.

My shelf at work houses a small, but growing collection of monstrous early cellphones. There are a couple of gigantic vacuum tubes (some from an early Univac), a core memory plane, a multiprocessor unit from an Amdahl mainframe, a weird hardwired logic unit from a forgotten computing machine. My latest purchase is rather interesting – the first consumer digital camera.

A $700 piece of equipment in 1994 Apple Quicktake 100 cameras sell for just a few bucks on eBay. I first saw one mentioned in this outstanding livejournal post. This guy’s camera still had some images in it which provided a weird time tunnel into some office party in 1994. I guess the people in the photos were celebrating extravagant Mac purchases.

I bought two cameras on eBay for just a few bucks each, and one came with a cable and a floppy with PC software. Not even hoping that it’d work I plugged in the serial cable, installed the software on my Win 2000 machine, turned on the camera and ran the program. It worked the first time.

Here are the two Apple QuickTake 100’s that I purchased. I bought two so I could take stereo images and view them on my 100 year old stereoscope. In a couple of years I think I’ll be able to buy a couple of iPod photo thingies for a few bucks and do what this guy did.

Times Square at night in full .3 megapixel power (compressed to 500 width).

Times Square at night with lower resolution option turned on

Snow storm in Brooklyn

Considering how difficult lighting conditions were the results are respectable. Usability wise these cameras are lacking. Even though they look like those binoculars from Star Wars movies, they have a very nasty lens cover that is very hard to open without leaving a nice fingerprint on the lens. Taking portrait orientated pictures is rather hard.

So here I am, paying tribute to one of the last Apple products of John Sculley’s era at Apple (note how Apple CEOs are arranged in a timeline at Wikipedia – just like kings). I wonder if Steve Jobs will ever consider making an Apple digital camera. So far the fate of Apple Newton shows that to Jobs anything ever touched by Sculley is taboo.