November 2006

Cult of Mac: iPod Chargers Outselling Zune on Amazon

by Joey deVilla on November 30, 2006

According to CBS MarketWatch, Zune is the 75th best-selling electronic product on Amazon, while the lowly Apple USB iPod Charger is a lofty no. 66. Yep, a power cord was beating down the latest iPod Killer.

The latest stats have the charger coming in at #51, while the 30GB Zune in black trails by ten places at #61.

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Welcome to the Social Phone Numbers

by Joey deVilla on November 30, 2006

A scene from 'Worst Date Ever, Part 4'.

You don't have to tell me about the hazards of the dating world. I've had dates end in complete disaster (by “disaster”, I mean that she was curled up in a ball screaming at me in front of a busload of art gallery attendees) and I've unknowing gone out with an identity thief (but was saved by the social network of my personal blog).

We've all heard stories about the annoying person who won't stop calling or who won't take a hint. In response, people have turned to technologies to provide some kind of communications buffer, such as the Hotmail or GMail address that one gives to casual acquaintances or potential dates or “social phone numbers”, which are explained in the New York Times article, Here's My Number (For Today).

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The 'Can't sleep...clown will eat me' scene from 'The Simpsons'.
Can't sleep…clown will eat me…

After the registration annoyances and the three separate attempts it took to get the damned thing to install, there's been one more annoyance that I've encountered with Release Candidate 1 of Windows Vista. After waking up the computer from sleep, it seems to have forgotten its network connection settings.

This problem would become apparent whenever I'd attempt to use the browser. The browser would display “Waiting for URL of site…” in the status bar for about 10 or so seconds, after which I would be informed that I was not connected to the internet. After checking to see that the cable was properly plugged into my PC's network card, the router was working properly and that my internet connection was indeed active, I fired up the “Network and Sharing Center” control panel and attempt to get Vista back on the LAN.

There was just one problem: connecting to the LAN wasn't an available option. The only options that Vista provided were:

  • Connect via PPPoE with your username and password
  • Connect via modem

I searched through the various control panels, looked at numerous help windows and even tried a couple of wizards, but in the end, I went with the tried-and-true fix of “shut up and reboot”. Upon rebooting, the network connection worked just fine…

…until the machine went to sleep again. Then I was back in “You are not connected to the Internet” land again.

The fix was simple: don't let the machine sleep. In the “Power Options” control panel, I set the “Put the computer to sleep” control to “Never” and haven't had a problem with my network connection since.

When dealing with nightmares, whether they're Freddy Kruger or Windows Vista, sometimes the best thing to do is not to sleep.

Bonus Cultural Reading Material

Wikipedia has an article on the catchphrase “Can't sleep…clown will eat me”.

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Happy Birthday, George!

by Joey deVilla on November 30, 2006

About this time 20 years ago, I met this character at Queen's University in our dorm, Leonard Hall:

George raises a martini glass at an OpenCola 'Tiki Friday' event, circa 2000.
George Scriban, at an OpenCola “Tiki Friday” event, circa 2000.

…and since then, we've been collaborating on all sorts of stuff, from the school's humor paper to working at the engineering pub to being in a band together to OpenCola. One of the reasons I like Global Nerdy is that it's yet another chance for us to work on a project together.

Happy birthday, you old poop.

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Citizens of iPod World

by Joey deVilla on November 30, 2006

Yet another reminder, this time via Leander Kahney's Cult of Mac blog, that the iPod World is far bigger than what Apple itself produces. It's constantly growing thanks to partners like Nike.

Via a tech-buying guide that gave a way a bit too much in Men's Health, meet the still offifically unannounced Nike Amp+, a wristband that communicates with the Nike+iPod to allow you to control your precious iPod nano from your wrist via Bluetooth. Now you can keep it wrapped up safely and make on-the-go changes.

Nike's one of the few companies that can go toe-to-toe with Apple in the icon department, given their gift for marketing and design at the cutting edge of the athletic lifestyle. Just look at the fetish-worthy black-rubber contraption they've designed for your iPod-enhanced run.

Microsoft's Zune made it onto the Men's Health list, too, but that's not the point. The point is that almost three quarters of the cars on sale today in the US sport iPod integration. If you're driving an older model, the top names in the aftermarket will be glad to help out. Four airlines who combined to carry 178 million passengers around the world this year have also put iPod integration on their agenda for 2007. And these are just the largest of the over 3,000 accessories that make up iPod World's ecosystem; everything from jackets, to socks, to hats, to pants. I expect pre-wired, iPod-compatible luxury homes to come next.

If there's one thing Microsoft understands, it's the value of controlling the platform on which others build businesses. The iPod is just such a platform, and I doubt iPod vs Zune will play out quite the same way that Mac vs Windows did.

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Guy Kawasaki's VC Aptitude Test

by Joey deVilla on November 29, 2006

Man in suit pointing at his head

Over at the blog of my role model Guy Kawasaki is an entertaining entry titled The Venture Capital Aptitude Test, or VCAT for short. Guy makes it quite clear that:

Venture capital is something to do at the end of your career, not the beginning. It should be your last job, not your first.

The test is really more of a mental exercise rather than those silly web tests whose results bloggers love to post (“Which Three's Company Landlord Are You?”). The gist of the article is that you shouldn't become a VC until after “you’ve had the shiitake kicked out of you.”

(Come to think of it, George and I know a couple of VCs that we'd love to kick the shiitake out of…)

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Perhaps it's a little more “Local Nerdy” than “Global Nerdy”, but perhaps you might find it interesting. I attended a Toronto Board of Trade “Technology Innovators Breakfast” session this morning, where I heard presentations by Alizabeth Calder of Brainhunter and Dan Fortin of IBM Canada on how to make Toronto a world-leading center for information and communications technologies. I took notes and posted them on my personal blog, The Adventures of Accordion Guy in the 21st Century.

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