Microsoft vs. Apple: It’s All About Experience.


Last night, my family and I went to our local mall.  My wife wanted a new watch band for her Apple Watch.

The Apple Store is always busy…and full of life.  They have tons of staff…some just stand around because they have so many.  But the store is always full of people.

My wife looked and found the band she wanted in the display case, but it was not on the shelf.  She asked an Apple store employee for help, and he immediately produced the band she wanted. He scanned the bar code, she used Apple Pay, and she was done. She was now the owner of a new Apple Watchband.  She put her new band on, right there in the store, and we were on our way.  Of note, even she did not have Apple Pay, she could have used our Apple ID account to pay, or a credit card, as all the employees have iPods equipped with card readers.

Excellent service, quick and easy.  The way I think a shopping experience should be.

Fast forward about 40 minutes.  My son had earned a gift from doing chores around the house.  We went to Gamestop, and they did not have the game he wanted. I remembered there was a Microsoft Store in this particular mall, so we headed there.

Microsoft Stores are nice.  They are setup well.  Lots of stations to try stuff out.  There were people playing Xbox One game.  It was a cool vibe.  He found his game and we looked for someone to help us.

That’s when the problems began.

It took us awhile to get help from one of the five employees.  When we did, he led us to a payment station.  He started the checkout process by telling us to wait a few minutes while the system booted up.

Yes.  He actually said that.

So, after all that, we were ready to pay.  I got my card out, and was standing in front of the reader.  I was ready to stick my card in the chip reader when he told me to wait, the system was not ready.  Then, he said wait for the screen on the card reader to go black.

It never did, and finally crashed.

We repeated this process one more time until he found a POS system that worked.  The entire process was about 15 minutes and I was extremely frustrated.  In fact, that was the first and last purchase I will make in a Microsoft Store.  It was too hard to buy something.

The two very different experiences I had last night are a perfect metaphor for Apple and Microsoft.  One cares very deeply about your overall experience, one just wants cash.

Given the market value of both the companies, you can see which philosophy is winning. And it is a perfect example of why I made the switch to Apple, and why most people hate computers and technology.  While I am sure that both Microsoft and Apple believe in technology as a tool to enhance our lives,  Microsoft continues to treat it as a means to an end, and that end is profit. NOT THAT THERE IS ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT…in fact, I am all for making profit.  But Apple has solved the problem of doing both.  By investing time and money to making the end user experience “insanely awesome”, they have taken away much of the intimidation people feel about tech.

I know there are arguments to be made for Microsoft.  They use hardware from a lot of different vendors.  They have to make their OS work with all of them.  But Apple made a bet years ago do to all that themselves, and it has paid off in billions.

 

 

 

No Man’s Sky: My Thoughts


Holy Crap, this game has divided people. What was, for a few years, the darling of the video game world, and one of the most anticipated games of…well, forever, has been attacked, lauded, and become the subject of unprecedented return policy updates by companies that rarely give refunds.

Why?

For starters, for a 2016 game, it is very much a 1991 game. Slow. Methodical. Boring. Everything us old guys love.

In fact, one might say it is the spiritual successor to Star Flight, a game released in 1991 that had no set story, let you explore a galaxy, mine planets, trade with other alien species, and even engage in combat. Sound familiar?

I loved it. LOVED IT. It was a ZEN game. A game you could play and relax at the same time. No place you had to go, no time table. You could play it and just get lost in it. I spent a lot of time “in” that game.

This is, of course, in STARK contrast to today’s game, and the modern gamer. The modern gamer craves non-stop action and, more importantly, multi-player. They want to interact with other players, whether it is in a cooperative setting or player vs. player. No Man’s Sky harkens back to a day when most gamers didn’t even have a modem. The game experience was all there was, and creating fantastic worlds for the player to get immersed in was the goal of very developer.

No Man’s Sky is huge. To the point that it can be very overwhelming. And while it has a goal (get to the galaxy core), the game does not care how you get there, or even IF you get there. There is no built in schedule. You can play at your own pace. Now that I am 43 with a job and three kids, that is AWESOME.

OH LOOK! Another Next Gen REMASTER!


Another Next Gen REMASTER!   AWESOME! Instead of making new, original games, most have been remasters. I think for every original game there are 2 remasters of past gen games.

Pssst…hey Naughty Dog…maybe if you were not working on the Uncharted Collection you could have devoted more time to getting Uncharted 4 out on time? hmmm? Maybe?

Still so very disappointed in this generation of consoles.

Malaysian Airlines Flight 370


I am just going to leave these right here:

 

 

 

 

 

BEST PRESIDENT EVER!!!!

 

 

 

The Sad Tale of the PSVita


WHAT AM I?!?!

I just read a great article on the PS Vita.  It made me realize that I am not alone.

I hate the PS Vita because I don’t know what the hell it is.  And apparently, neither does Sony.

It really is a neat little thing.  Next Gen graphics on a nice hi rez screen. Some great games.  Wifi and Cellular data access. Email, web browser. Chat. Touch screen. It’s an MP3 and movie player as well.

Why yes, I did just describe most every hand held device.  Including the mega popular iOS devices from Apple.

So Sony really needed to knock this out of the park, and they haven’t.  So far, the only “cool” feature is being able to remote into my PS4 and play PS4 games on the screen.  Of course, this is only good up to about 40 feet, then the connection lags to the point of being unplayable.

And there are some Vita exclusive games that are worth it.  Uncharted: The Golden Abyss and Assassin’s Creed: Liberation are fantastic.  In fact, if you are a PlayStation Plus subscriber you can get Uncharted for free right now.

So the one thing that sets the Vita apart from every smart phone and tablet are the games. The problem is that no developer will touch the damn thing because it is not selling.  However you can download every Vita game via the PlayStation Store, and also a large selection of PSP and PSOne games.  That is awesome.

But it also shows another weakness of the Vita.  Storage.

The Vita uses proprietary Sony SD cards.  It ships with a 4GB card.  Every app you download ( yes there are Twitter and Facebook apps for Vita!) takes up space. The average PSOne game is around 500MBS.  The average Vita game is 3GBS.  You do the math.  And the prices for these SONY ONLY cards are ridiculous. The retail price for a 32GB card is $79.99.  You can get a 32GB USB drive for around $20.00

Then there is the game pricing.  Every Vita game costs the same as the retail counterpart.  Plus, you have to have space to download it.  So what is the advantage to downloading a Vita game? There is none.  If I am being asked to pay the full retail prince of $39.99 for a Vita game, I am better off to buy the thing and not have to give up precious storage.

And that brings me back to the PlayStation Plus membership.  Sony does give members tremendous discounts and even free games, but then you have to have space. It’s a benefit that is hard to enjoy on the Vita.

I doubt I will see any more MUST HAVE games for the Vita.  It is going to die, like the PSP before it.  It’s a shame, because having a portable Playstation is a cool idea.

I wish I had one.

Mac Mail has become a Wasteland of Ruin…but I fixed it.


   I like Mavericks.  I love the improvements to Finder, with tabbed browsing and tags.  And pretty much everything else.   But it raped one of my favorite apps, Mail.

It was discovered pretty early after the release that Apple had changed the way it was handling Gmail accounts. And this resulted in crappy performance and very slow message delivery.  News Flash: Apple hates Google now.

Granted, they realized they messed up and released an update shortly thereafter, but it still isn’t the same.  It is no where near as responsive as it used to be.

A few days ago, a buddy of mine told me he was worried that Mac Mail was becoming unusable.  He mentioned the slow delivery of messages.  I thought about it, and then I started to notice the same thing.

I am a devout Gmail user.  For me there is no better email service.  But, I like the functionality that a client gives me for working in other applications.  And you you work in the Apple Eco System, Mail is a must use app.  But it’s crap right now and I hope they give it some love very soon.

But back to the matter at hand!  My buddy and I had the idea of removing the accounts from our Mail App and starting from scratch.  And that is what you have to do, but you also have to take one, more drastic step.

Go into your MAC Library (if you don’t know how to get there, from FINDER>GO  and hold down the OPTION key, Library shows up) and delete the IMAP folders for all your Gmail accounts.  Go back to Settings, and add them again.  VIOLA!  Mail is fixed.  Messages come in again at the speed of light.

It will take some time to download all your messages again, but for now this seems to fix the issue.

 

 

The Best Films of 2013*** ( That I saw)* **


  • The Lone Ranger 

So, this movie was really not great. In fact, the majority of the film is horrible. They make The Lone Ranger into a doofus, and give Tonto mental issues. They also make Silver a magic horse. None of that was needed. But the last 30 mins, William Tell Overture and all, reminded me why I love a classic Western and The Lone Ranger. Fun and over the top, good vs. evil. I would have liked to see this world again, and have the characters fleshed out more than we got, but sadly it tanked at the box office, so truly, it is HI HO SILVER…AWAY!

  • Star Trek Into Darkness 

I never thought I would walk out of this film hating it, but I did. This film could have made such an awesome story out of the Kahn/Kirk conflict, but instead ended up try to remake Wrath of Kahn, without realizing what made WOK so good. There was barely any tension between Kirk and Kahn. A big let down for me.

  • Man of Steel

Superman does not kill. There you go. At the end of this film, they want you to believe that the planet believes Superman is a hero, when in fact, he helped level three cities. However, I have hope that the powers that be will build off what they have created in this film into the next one, and find redemption.

  • Pacific Rim

There is so much eye candy in this film! From the moment I saw the trailer, I wanted to see and love this film. The final product is not a great film, but the fact you have giant f*cking robots fighting giant f*cking aliens and all that goes with it, makes me watch this movie over and over again. The human story was crap, but I want to go back to the world they created.

  • The Wolverine

At last, we get to see a true characterization of The Wolverine on screen. Let’s face it, while he was the resident bad ass in the X-Men movies, he still wasn’t has hard core as he is in the comics. And we need to forget the shit pile that was X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE. This is not a great film, but at last we can see Logan kicking ass and taking names.

  • Monsters University

I really enjoyed this film. After the travesty that was Cars 2, I was afraid Pixar was going to become a sequel churning cash cow machine, with little regard to the source material. But Toy Story 3 and now this have shown me that Cars 2 was the exception, not the rule. MU was a great story, with great new characters, and making me love the originals even more.

  • Iron Man 3

Loved it. The biggest let down is the post credit scene. It was done for jokes, not to setup any of the future films. Big letdown. The rest of the film was great….including the credits.

  • Thor: The Dark World

My pic for the best movie all year (that I saw).  There is so much Marvel love in this film.  And the end credit teaser has me more excited for Guardians of the Galaxy

Tarazona Revolution 305


Thanks to my pal, Chris Carver and Jungle Jim’s, I discovered this beauty.  Starts off sweet…with some definite hints of nuttiness.  Creamy smoke.   Even burn, perfect draw.  I think I may have found my new favorite cigar!

PLUS!  I discovered that the company donates $5 of every box sold to the Humane Society of Greater Miami.  That’s cool when a cigar company gives back.

Be sure and check them out! @TarazanoCigars

 

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The Most Metal Band is THE YELLOW DOGS


This guy killed his band members then…SHOT HIMSELF .  F’N METAL! Click the pic for the details!

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Fun with Terminal Commands


Wanna have some fun with your Mac OS X system names?  Open up TERMINAL and try these commands:

scutil –set ComputerName “WHATEVER YOU WANT”

This will change the official name of your Mac to whatever you choose. 

What about the HOST name?

scutil –set HostName “WHATEVER YOU WANT”

Doing that will give your Mac a new name on the network and on the command line.

And to change the MAC name for Bonjour Apps and AirDrop, try:

scutil –set LocalHostName “WHATEVER YOU WANT”

 

Just a cool way to add some variety to your MAC and spice things up.  🙂