I'm Just Saying....
Kim (my lovely girlfriend) and I had gone out on Thursday to the gym. When we got home, my Twitter DM's and iMessages had blown up.
"OMG Have you seen Daring Fireball?"
Oh, Jesus I thought....what has John Gruber gotten himself into now?
"He mentioned you!"
Oh crap...what have I done to piss him off *this* time?
I quickly type Daring Fireball's URL and see:
"SHAWN KING NEEDS SOME HELP"
Ha ha...that's my name too. I wonder why he's talking about Larry King's wife?
"My friend Shawn King — longtime Mac/Apple writer/broadcaster and host of Your Mac Life for 21 years — has hit a run of bad luck."
H O L Y C R A P.....
He's writing about me!
It was a wonderful piece. I'm amazed, humbled and gratified that John took the time to even notice my problems, let alone mention them, let alone write so much and so well about it. His final paragraph literally had me in tears and Kim exclaiming her love for our little Mac Community.
Before we had left in the afternoon, I checked the amount raised on this site. It was a little over $5,000.
John posted his piece about an hour before we got home. When I look at the site, the number of donations had doubled as well as the amount raised.
AND IT JUST KEPT CLIMBING....
I raised the target three times in the next three hours. It was a tsunami of donations coming in from the Daring Fireball Army. I literally couldn't keep up with the Thank You notes (I *just* caught up today - if you didn't get one, my apologies as some may have fallen through the cracks) and still haven't written the ones to the folks who donated for the photography classes (I'll get to those before the weekend is over).
I've lost my smile. I want it back. I need your help.
Hi. My name is Shawn King. I've been the host of an Apple/Mac focused "internet broadcast" for more than 21 years. It's called Your Mac Life. I'm also a photography instructor, focused on helping beginners learn how to take better photographs no matter what camera they have. You can see some of my photographs on my Flickr site.
I love doing what I do, even though it doesn't make a lot of money. I love talking - both "at people" on various podcasts and to them in person when doing photowalks or my "Tips and Tricks" classes either online or in person.
My only real job skill is talking. Luckily, I'm really good at it. :) I love talking to people. I love entertaining people and making them laugh. I'm really good at putting people at ease and I'm really good at teaching people about photography.
So, when I can't, it's devastating both personally and financially. And that's what's happening now. I literally can't open my mouth enough to talk.
Just when I thought life was starting to be a little less bad for me, it kicks me in the teeth....literally...
This past week, I did that thing almost everyone dreads - I went to the dentist. But, because of my financial situation, it was my first dentist's visit in over ten years. I've spent the past ten years in constant mouth pain either from overall gum disease or the actual searing pain of infected teeth and gums. So yeah - I knew it wasn't going to be good.
Over the weekend, a loose front tooth finally fell out. I look like a hillbilly (no offence to my hillbilly friends) and would be too embarrassed to appear on Your Mac Life video looking like this. So we made an appointment to see a dentist.
The good news is, the dentist didn't charge me for the appointment. The bad news is, I have "advanced periodontal disease" - basically, I've lost so much bone in my upper jaw, my teeth don't have anything to hold on to. So they will continue to fall out unless I do something about it.
Unfortunately, that "something" is pulling out ALL my upper teeth (well, the ones that haven't already fallen out) and putting in implants - at least six of them costing $2,500 each. That's a minimum of $15,000.
Like most of you, I don't have that kind of money just lying around. I'm also unlikely to ever be able to afford the procedure. So my teeth will just continue to get worse and worse and eventually, fall out.
But, before they fall out, I’ll have many days like today - infected teeth and gums causing so much pain I can’t open my mouth, let alone talk…
As you can understand, this is also psychologically devastating. I've been dealing with this news for the past four days. I often struggle with depression in various ways and at various levels. Just the thought of someone pulling out all of my teeth has had me on the verge of tears for days.
It's also completely my own fault for not taking care of myself. Even though I'm a regular brusher, a twice daily regime is not enough, especially for people like me who are in the "risk group" and are more likely than others to contract this disease.
We are looking at other options - dentures, trips out of country to other dentists, local dental colleges where the work can be done cheaper, etc. But regardless of the decision made and the procedure done, it all costs money. Money I simply don't have.
Several friends have suggested I start this campaign. Those of you who know me know how hard this is. Many of you have (rightfully) pointed out I need to "swallow your pride and set up that website to get funds".
And they are right. So here I am.
I don't know if this campaign will work and I honestly don't hold out a lot of hope for it but every little bit can and will help. If you'd rather not use the GoFundMe site, you can also donate via Paypal using a credit card or your Paypal account. You can find the Paypal links on the left hand side of this page.
Sad news today - one of my favourite authors has passed away.
Pratchett was diagnosed with an aggressive form of Alzheimer's Disease in 2007 but continued to write and even publish. I loved his books as a kid and will spend some time this weekend re-reading a couple.
If you haven't introduced your children to Pratchett's writing, now's a great opportunity to do so.
Take a look at this picture taken by YML listener Les Posen.
It's a shot Les took while listening/watching tonight's Your Mac Life live video, in his car, while going to a dog kennel. Note how, not only can you see me on the video but how his Mazda takes the Google Hangouts metadata via Bluetooth and shows it on the car's navigation screen system.
Les lives in Mebourne, Australia!
We really do live in the future! :)
Sometimes, bits on the show take on a life of their own. Last Wednesday was one of those instances.
During a discussion about syncing, Bill and Ian....well....GO OFF....on Shawn for his backwardness when it comes to syncing and the Address Book. To get the full effect, you have to watch the video feed and scroll forward to 1:36:20, then sit back and watch as hilarity ensues...At one point, it looks like Ian is trying to smother himself...
But, as a tease, here is the audio only version of the segment. ENJOY!
|You could win a speaking role in Neil Gaiman's upcoming American Gods audiobook. And there is more! The winner will be flown and hosted in NYC where the recording will be taped. He or she will get coached by Neil Gaiman himself (!), be credited for his or her contribution and receive a copy of the audiobook once the product is released.|
Those of you who follow me on Twitter know that I use several different apps on my iPhone and iPad but I've settled on one for my desktop use - Kiwi.
I've mentioned Kiwi many times on Twitter. I'm very happy with the app and particularly happy with the developer, Isaiah, who saw me on Twitter complaining about a previous app and asked me to test out Kiwi. I did and liked it but told him I couldn't use it because it didn't do two things. He asked what they were and literally ten minutes later, he told me to download the latest beta. Isaiah had coded the two things I wanted!
I immediately went and bought the app and have been using it on my desktop every since. It's still not perfect but it's very good and it does what I need a desktop Twitter client to do.
Kiwi is now available in the Mac App Store and, until the end of the day, is available for only 99 cents - that's a no brainer for a well done app with a attentive developer.
And none of the above has anything to do with the fact that the developer is using my face in the screenshot of his app on the Mac App Store... :)
Ian Betteridge is a UK base technology blogger/journalist. He's posted a very good article, "No, Apple isn’t patenting developers’ work. But it still has a bigger problem" I would encourage you to read. His described "bigger problem" is what I'm going to talk about.
I’d put a lot of the blame for this firmly at the doors of Apple’s marketing and PR policy since the return of Steve Jobs. Essentially, Apple’s PR policy can be summed up as “say as little as you can get away with to the press. Be professional, courteous, but as essentially give away nothing.”
Any time someone talks about "Apple's great PR machine", I have to literally hold back laughter and assume the person talking doesn't have to deal with Apple's PR on a regular basis. Don't get me wrong - the people who work there are great. Steve Dowling, Nathalie Harrison, Katie Cotton, all (and many more) are nice people, happy to talk to you - as long as it's not about Apple.
Betteridge goes on to say:
This...contributes to the overall secrecy which...makes it possible for Apple to do its fantastic event marketing, which makes each product launch something that attracts worldwide coverage. But the flipside is that the relationship between Apple, the press, and other influencers is remarkably shallow. The kind of face-to-face, deep, personal relationships that encourage trust for a company from the media simply isn’t there.
Those of you who listen to Your Mac Life or who have talked to me know this is an issue I've had with Apple for years - their (seeming) disdain for the people whose job it is to report on the company's workings, actions and announcements.
Microsoft has added a PC versus Mac section to its Windows 7 website. WHY?
Steve Ballmer has bragged about "93%" market share For PC's running Windows. So why does this section of their web site feel like they are running scared? The site has a tone similar to what you would have expected Apple to run back in the 90's.
Some folks have the minor quibble that Macs *ARE* PC's but I'll cut Microsoft some slack on that one. But lines like:
PCs are always ready, willing, and—most importantly—able to get down to business.
"Things just don't work the same way on Macs ... For example, the mouse works differently."
"Macs don't work as well at work or at school."
Are just silly. Granted, the points made can be applicable in specific situations and are slanted in Microsoft's favor. I have no problem with that - I'll be the first person to say that Macs aren't perfect and aren't for everyone.
But this kind of defensiveness from Microsoft is pointless.
"Steve Jobs' Apple will not be satisfied with anything less than the biggest piece of the pie that it can possibly take, in terms of profits, revenues, and unit sales. With the iPod, Apple has proven that all of those numbers can be well above 50 percent—without compromising product quality.
"In the mobile market, the goal is the same. Apple is playing to win."
The above is from John Siracusa's excellent Ars Technica article, Can You Buy Me Now? Apple and the War for the Mobile Market.
I agree that Jobs/Apple isn't satisfied with where they are in any segment of the markets they compete in. They absolutely want to grab the biggest share everywhere. That's what capitalists do.
But I don't think it's foremost in the mind of Apple. Money, in the shape of profits, revenue, share price, is a by-product, not a *primary* goal.
Siracusa credits Gruber with "(market share) is just be a convenient way for industry observers to "keep score." While Gruber may have said it, he certainly wasn't the first. A lot of people, myself included, have been saying it for years. As a Matter of fact, Steve Jobs has echoed the sentiment on many occasions.
In my opinion, it's one of the key reasons why Apple is having the success they are having. By taking money out of the equation - not worry (too much) about the share price, the revenues, the profits, it frees the company and its employees to focus on other aspects of business.
It's a model that has worked well for Apple these past 10+ years.
The web site HardMac is reporting that they have images of the cases for the "new iPod Touch 4". They say, "As you may know, Apple provides some case manufacturers with the size and shape of the new iPhones and iPods so they can start making the new cases before the devices come out."
To my knowledge, Apple hasn't and doesn't reveal to case manufacturers any dimensions of their new products. Sure, it would help those third party case manufacturers to get product out as close to the launch date as possible but 1) Apple doesn't much care about helping case vendors get their product to market on day of launch and 2) Apple has made it very clear that they don't trust those same manufacturers to not leak the information to the media.
And you know why they don't trust them? Because that information has and does leak to the media. I'd bet that this so-called "photo illustration" is simply someone's guess as to what the iPod touch 4 might look like.
I've been thinking a bit about the iPhone 4 launch and all the attendant hyperbole and downright whining going on. Tuesday morning, I hopped online to reserve our iPhone 4s. 3 minutes later, both were reserved. Every time I utter that, I feel a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out "I hate you!" and were suddenly silenced.
The 600,000 number has been thrown around quite a bit, but it's not the relevant number. 600,000 is merely the number of iPhones that were successfully reserved before they ran out of their reserved stock. It is not the number of people who were online attempting to reserve one. I don't know if anyone knows the real number, but it could be an order of magnitude higher.
When someone says that AT&T or Apple "should have known" how high the demand was going to be, I ask the question "Do you actually know how high it was?" Imagine if your store usually gets 50 customers for its events. Knowing that you've got unusually high demand, you plan for 100 - 200. Then you get socked with 1000.
Every one of these people had to access an AT&T account, which then had to be run through all its algorithms to determine what plan they were on and what they were eligible for. I wonder if the waiving of ETF for any who were eligible this year was simply for their own sake in a vain attempt to simplify matters. Again, this is all guessing. The fact remains, however, that the people complaining do not know what the real numbers are. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt.
As far as bandwidth goes, we must keep in mind not only how extremely expensive it is to service this many people, but also how hard it is to get new towers past red tape, local politicians who want their palms greased, and NIMBYs. It's an annoying situation to be in. If AT&T and Apple want to deflect complaints, however, they might want to consider being a little more open about what the problems really are.
That is a *remarkable* prediction - not only for its scope (can any of us really imagine a crash so bad that would cause Apple's stock to fall from its present $271/share all the way down to the predicted $45?) but for its balls if not stupidity.
We'll wait for the fall to see...
After seeing the email responses from Steve Jobs, I thought, "Wow - people ask Jobs some silly questions..."
It got me thinking, "what would *I* ask Steve Jobs if I had the opportunity? What is the one question, if you could be guaranteed an answer, you would ask Steve Jobs? I got some great responses from Twitter:
@mielnicki - "Name 3 things on your "bucket" list."
@mielnicki - "What is your biggest regret in life?"
@daveday - "What are your long-term plans regarding the Apple TV?"
@Moeskido - "I want a release date for the new Mac Pro towers, stat!"
@bazcurtis - "Would you give up Apple success now for Apple success in the 80/90s?"
@gorskic - "I'd ask to add a cashier to the Stores. They're too crowded to find help most of the time when you only need a cable or something."
@diskgrinder - "Will an A2 ipad replace spray-mounted boards when presenting designs to your client?"
@mikeeyes - "Barring health concerns what, if anything, would cause you to walk away from Apple?"
@Moeskido - "What does the landscape of big-media networks and personal electronics look like to you, say, 100 years from now?"
@TwigitalTwawg - "Does you see professional apps and hardware as an integral part of Apple's long term future?"
@johnfbraun - "Dear Steve, why only AT&T network? You'd sell more phones and make me happy with Verizon."
@vamsmack "Which device do you wish Apple had invented but someone else beat you to the punch?"
@leicaman - "When you introduced OSX, you said it is the Mac OS for the next 15 years. Is that still the plan?"
So - what would you ask Steve Jobs if you had the chance?
So....does this thing actually work?
I was interested in your talk with John Gruber last week on YML. I was surprised at the vehemence of how Apple's ringtone support was received.
I thought I'd list a few things that occurred to me why Apple is doing it the way they are.
He points out that Apple has released 6 iPhone press releases in 2007....
While the AP has done *17* stories in just 14 *days*.
AP? That's your owwn petard you're sitting on now.
The NYPD are on the scene in downtown Brooklyn at 22nd Street near the Gowanus Canal. They are confirming that they have a 15 foot pilot whale stuck in an enclosed area, and in distress. They are attempting to free it.
(Shawn's Comment: WTF is the "NYC Jewish News" covering a whale story in Brooklyn!? )
I *love* movie trailers. I can and have wasted a great deal of time watching them. But I *hate* when they give so much plot away.
A perfect example are the Spiderman 3 trailers.
The one on the Apple Trailer Page shows the story as we are pretty sure we know it so far. But the one on this page should have a huge "SPOILER ALERT" button on it because it gives away a *crucial* plot point!
Why do movie studios do that? I really get the feeling that there's no reason for me to go to the theater to see the movie now - I'll just wait for it to come out on DVD....
I'm not interested in what you had for breakfast. I don't need to know when you leave for work. Got stuck in bad traffic? Keep it to yourself. Your work habits aren't even important to your coworkers. Your lunch choices matter to no one. Now you're reading your favorite blogs? Color me uninterested. When you leave work, I don't want to hear it. If you go out for drinks, keep it between you and the bartender. And when you get home, don't share your TV viewing habits. They're about as interesting as watching paint dry. What are you doing? I really don't care.
Yours truly, Dave
(Shawn's Comment: LMAO Dave is talking about those folks signed up to Twitter.com and I've gotta agree with him!)
Apparently, I was right when I told Lesa "GhostRider" was gonna suck.
Well, I'm betting I go two for two with this next prediction - "Underdog - The Movie".
Now, before you get all excited and think, "Cool! Underdog was one of my favorite cartoons!" - watch the trailer.
Now that you've seen it...I'm right, aren't I?
(Shawn's Comment: Even I think this is stupid and I love penguins! :) )
How many of you remember the paper edition of MacWeek magazine? If you do, you're getting old. :)
I saw this site referenced somewhere and got excited, thinking MacPublishing was bringing the old venerated (and hated) MacWeek name back. But, when i go to the site, I saw that they were using WordPress and it didn't look anything like the other MacPublishing products.
After investigating further (actually, spending about 60 more seconds on the site), I figured the site was run by a couple of kids and will be taken down......oh.....let's say before the weekend is out. :)
But it brings up a couple of points. One is that there is an entire "generation" of Mac users who have no clue about the "Good Old Days" and two, if you're going to use a particular obvious name, at least do a Google search to make sure someone else doesn't own it. :)
One of the most frequently asked questions, either to me or on web sites, mailing lists and forums is, "When are the new (insert name of product here) coming out?"
Everyone is so (justifiably) afraid of buying a brand spanking new machine, only to have Apple release a spankier one the next day or week. The problem is, the only *honest* answer to the question anyone can give you is, "I don't know." No one at Apple is going to tell you and, if you're not at Apple, you have no clue when new machines are coming out because Apple rarely pre-announces new hardware (the iPhone and Apple TV being notable exceptions).
The only advice I can ever give is, if you *need* a new machine, buy a new machine. If you don't absolutely need it, wait until the next revision of the product.
Chris H on the Your Mac Life Mailing List points us to this web site - The Macrumors Buyer's Guide. As much as I hate rumor sites, this page is interesting because it shows when the last time a particular product was revised and gives you some small indication as to when it *may* be revised again. But keep in mind their own disclaimer:
"Disclaimer: This page is based on rumors and speculation and we provide no guarantee to its accuracy. We take no responsibility for purchase decisions made based on this information.
My wife has turned me into one of "those people".
I used to walk into Starbucks and order quickly, easily, simply.
"I'll have a Venti (strongest Coffee of the Day)".
The cashier would take my money, quickly pour a cup, hand it to me and send me on my way. A shot of Half and Half and I was out the door. The whole thing took maybe a minute to transact.
I always hated those people who would walk up to the counter and order like this:
"I'll have a Grande, no whip, half caff, extra hot, double shot, skim Americano with sprinkles...."
The cashier would holler the order to a Barrista. The Barrista would repeat the order back, like we're on a nuclear powered submarine, filming a sequel to The Hunt for Red October.
I just wanted to grab the person and yell, "Just get a cup of hot brown water and get out of here!"
OK...I'll admit....in the summer time, I would occasionally try a cool, refreshing Frappuccino.
But it was only every now and then and I could quit any time I wanted.
Then my wife made me try her latte.
She's smart, my wife. She knows, like any good crack dealer, you give 'em the first hit free.
That first one was good....not as good as a straight up Sumatra but not bad. And then I started to experiment. And that's when things started to go horribly wrong.
Now, here's what I order when I go to Starbucks:
"I'll have a Grande, extra hot, triple shot non fat latte".
Kill me now....
"Nothing i would trade my new Canon 400D for just yet...."
Thomas posted the above in our comments and it got me thinking (always dangerous).....
What *would* you trade you present camera in for? Regardless of whether you're a point-and-shooter or a pro, what features, real or imagined, already existing or not, would you trade your present camera in for?
As a brand new SLR'er (that's an awkward word), I can't imagine ever needed anything more (well, maybe faster). So what is it about the Nikon D70 or D80 (both supposedly better than what I'm using now) or a pro Canon camera that makes them "better" cameras? Is it just more megapixels? Bigger sensors?