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Friday, June 25, 2010

Really Mr. Jobs? REALLY???

I'm sure you've heard the joke that goes something like this:

Patient: Doc, it really hurts when I do this. Can you help me?
Doctor: Don't do that!

Steve Jobs and the Apple minions seem to be taking that approach to customer complaints about the new iPhone 4 and it's signal reception issues. When the iPhone 4 was announced, Mr. Jobs described the integrated antenna as "really cool engineering", but it seems that customers are experiencing severe signal degradation when they hold the phone... yup, you read that right! It seems as though the phone works great if it's not in your hand but if you hold it, particularly in the lower left-hand corner the signal reception drops significantly. I find it really inexcusable to tell a customer who has just paid several hundreds of dollars for your product, and is likely to spend much more over the next several years through their contract and the purchase of apps, that their only option to remedy the issue is to "not hold your phone that way" or to drop more money on a case to insulate the phone from your hand. I also find it interesting that a company known for it's design and quality would not have noticed this through testing. Not a stellar start to the release of this one! Add to it the fact that pre-orders where a total mess and that white iPhone 4's are more difficult to manufacture?

See this BBC article or do a simple google search for more info.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Did Facebook Under Report Android And Twitter Stats?

TechCrunch has noticed that either there has been skyrocketing growth of android and Twitter clients hitting Facebook or some of the numbers previously reported were grossly under reported. FarmVille apparently has 63.9 million monthly active users (MAU) and Texas HoldEm Poker 28.5 million, but until recently android was reported at 67 MAU and Twitter just around 400,000. I guess that makes me an extremely early adopter... 1 of 67 isn't bad, even 1 of 400,000 is admirable. Right?

The numbers however, have suddenly taken a huge spike after what looks like a rather static baseline. Must be a mistake...

The number correction comes just ahead of  Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg sharing some thoughts with Inside Facebook about Twitter. In his discussion, he admitted he now views Twitter as a “very nice, simple service.”  

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

ThinkGeek Cease and Desist Drama Over Unicorn Meat

It should come as a surprise to nobody that my favorite online store is ThinkGeek, I've got a few geek points burning a hole in my pocket right now. The monkeys at ThinkGeek have a great sense of humor and an incredible line of products, there is something for everyone on your gift giving list. 

ThinkGeek has however managed to raise the ire of the National Pork Board (NPB) with it's promotion of Canned Unicorn Meat with the slogan "Unicorn - The New White Meat". It seems as though the NPB does not take kindly to the parody used in the slogan and has issued a cease and desist letter. 

In their usual good spirited nature, ThinkGeek has responded with the following:

We'd like to publicly apologize to the NPB for the confusion over unicorn and pork--and for their awkward extended pause on the phone after we had explained our unicorn meat doesn't actually exist. From our press release [PDF]:
"It was never our intention to cause a national crisis and misguide American citizens regarding the differences between the pig and the unicorn," said Scott Kauffman, President and CEO of Geeknet. "In fact, ThinkGeek's canned unicorn meat is sparkly, a bit red, and not approved by any government entity."
We'd also like to extend a special discount to everyone we offended with our portrayal of Unicorn Meat as "the new white meat." For a limited time, take $10 off any order of $40 or more by using the code PORKBOARD at checkout, good until 6/30/2010 at 11:59PM ET.
Thanks, National Pork Board, for giving us yet another reason to keep the April Fool's Day tradition alive. We'll always wonder if our Canned Unicorn Meat played some small, magical part in your rethinking of your brand.
Good on ya ThinkGeek! While you've not offended me with your good humor, I might just drop by and pretend that you did :)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Scottish Hospital To Use Robotic Workers

The new £300m Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert, Stirlingshire will open in August with a small army of robots wandering dedicated hallways and looking after many of the non medical duties involved in running a hospital. According to hospital chairman Ian Mullen "Members of staff will use a hand-held PDA to call up the robot to move meal trays, or linen, or whatever. The robot will come up in the service lift by itself, pick up the item and go back into the lift." The robots will be able to detect obstructions and send signals to doors to open or close them once they've passed through the threshold.

"Traditionally clean and dirty tasks are carried out by the same person," infection control nurse Lesley Shepherd told the BBC. "Here, you'll have the robots that do dirty tasks, so they may take dirty linen or clinical waste away, and you'll have robots that do clean tasks, such as bringing meals and clean linen to patients. They have separate lifts so there's no way they can cross, which is great." 
More detail including video at BBC News.