Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Now that the iPad has been announced, I'm feeling cold and empty

So, the 2010 Apple Event has come and gone.  Steve Jobs has slipped back behind the curtain to conjure up the next idevice.  And here we are in the blogosphere left to our own meandering thoughts of what we just learned. What did we get out of it?  The iPad (jokes immediately commenced on the interwebs). 

I have to tell ya, people… it feels kind of like a letdown.

First and foremost, I am a Mac addict.  I have been one since 2002 when I purchased my first iMac G4. Since then I’ve had 3 ipods,  on my second iMac and currently writing this blog on my Macbook.  The only Micro$oft device that I’ve allowed to come into my home is the Xbox 360 and if you read my article My 3 Xboxes you would know my current feelings on that whole situation.  So, yeah.  I’m here to stay in Macville.  I like it here.  It’s a nice place to be. But the iPad? 

Yes, it’s sleek and beautiful and cool.  That’s expected from Apple.  But we’ve also come to expect the unexpected.  And we didn’t get that.  It seems like a typical tablet.  It’s got all the standard features of a computer-lite device.  But there was no “wow!  I’ve got to get me one of those.”  I was waiting for Mr. Jobs to say right before concluding the keynote, “oh and it can teleport you.”  (Apple has been touting the Star Trek thing a bit.)  I was holding my breath for him to say, “By the way, it grants you three wishes.”   But alas, no genie app announced.

Perhaps, the competitors beat Apple to the punch.  Maybe if the iPad was announced 2 months ago I would have a different opinion.  But now it’s just another one in this recent rush of tablet devices.

Or maybe it’s because I’ve become accustomed to being “wowed” by Apple’s announcement that I’m jaded a bit.  I guess the analogy is like getting a Mercedes Benz every year as a birthday gift, but this year you get a Honda Civic.  Hey, Honda Civics are pretty decent cars, but they’re no Mercedes.   

The positive side is the price.  The device starts at $499 for the base Wi-Fi and $629 for the Wi-Fi + 3G.  It’s pretty much right in the middle of that of an iPod and a base Macbook, which backs up Mr. Jobs keynote point of Apple’s desire to create a device that could bridge the gap there. 

But to be honest with you, I’ll probably get one eventually.  Definitely will have to research more on the 3G aspect of the device because of all the problems iPhone users have had (sadly, I do not own one… only 6 more months on my T-Mobile contract and then we’ll see).  But yeah, the possibility that I get one is pretty strong.  I’ve been a citizen of Macville since 2002, people.  I like it here.  It’s a nice place to be.  

Sunday, January 24, 2010

My 3 Xboxes

Well, I just got off the phone with Xbox customer service and they're telling me it's going to be 100 bucks to get my 3rd console fixed.  I have to say that I'm none to please.  What has happened to building products with quality?  Why am I even considering giving any more money to the Micro$oft corporation.

When the 360 was released I had to be one of the first ones to have it.  That's just how I'm programmed.  Although there were not that many games out yet, I had to be the first one on the block to have one.  So, the hunt was on and I phoned all the electronic stores in town until I finally found one.  I rushed over and an hour later I was up and running. That Xbox lasted about a year until I got the Red Ring Of Death, the infamous 3 flashing red lights on the console that signify that your system has met its demise.  My warranty had lapsed at the time and I was all but sure that I was going to have to buy a new one to keep up with my on-line addiction.  But that was around the time when it was well publicized that the failure rate on the machines were significantly high and so, biting the bullet, Micro$oft extended their warranty for consoles manufactured at that time.  But instead of them fixing my console, they had me ship in mine and sent out an already refurbished system (#2).  Basically, the failure rate created this cycle of import and export; take in the bad system, send out the refurbished system.  So, some kid in Indiana probably is playing Rock Band 2 on my first system.

I received my refurbished system after a week of being out of the Xbox live loop.  But as I got back into the that wonderful world of playing on line, something was nagging in the back of my brain.  My fear was that because it was a refurbished system eventually it would fail as well.  So, I decided that I would do a little charity work, for a friend and myself.  I ended up giving my refurbished system to a buddy of mine, for free.  Yeah, free.  This buddy actually gave me a car once, so I thought I'd return the favor.  For myself I bought an arcade version, because I already had the hard drive. And that was my 3rd system.  That was about a little over a year ago.

A few nights ago, I was in the middle of Team Deathmatch in Modern Warfare 2 when the colors on my HDTV go psychedelic and then eventually the screen went black.  No image whatsoever.  I tried switching to standard analog, thinking maybe something was wrong with the HD signal.  Still nothing.  I called a buddy and a few days later he loaned me his cable, thinking perhaps I had faulty cable.  Still nothing.  At this point I know it's something to do with the console itself.

So, when I called Xbox customer service I already had an inkling that my warranty had lapsed but not by much.  You can imagine my surprise when they explained that my warranty ended in November of 2008.  Surprised because I had purchased the system a month later.  My warranty had expired a month before I was even the owner.  Strange to say the least.  Of course, I don't have the paperwork to back up my claim.  I figured since my first console was part of the initial release and the batch of systems that fell into the extreme failure rate group, what were the chances of anything happening to another system?  Apparently the chances are good.  I should have seen the writing on the wall.  Every single friend, no exaggeration here, every single one of my friends has had their Xbox fail.  If there was any sort of survey amongst the Idiot Ballroom group of friends, that would be a 100% failure rate on Xbox systems.  That is absolutely unacceptable.

My suggestion to Micro$oft and Xbox is to get their crap together.  Especially, when Natal hits this year.