“I can’t remember any software company pulling a stunt like this before: throwing away a fully developed, mature, popular program and substituting a bare-bones, differently focused program under the same name.
I’ve used the real iMovie to edit my Times videos for three years now. The results are perfectly convincing as professional video blog work. But the new version is totally unusable for that purpose. It’s unusable, in fact, for anyone doing professional work that requires any degree of precision.”
Joe Wilcox on some very nasty driver behaviour in Vista:
“It’s bad enough that there aren’t enough Vista drivers for all peripherals. Now, having some of those drivers is worse.
Apparently, preinstalled ATI drivers can open the Vista kernel to arbitrary memory writes.
The problem isn’t limited to 32-bit Windows Vista, but also affects the 64-bit version, which kernel is supposed to sacrosanct.”
“Fans of the PlayStation Portable (PSP) media device must continue to wait for a download store, a feature that experts have said is a must if the player is ever to launch a significant challenge to the iPod.
What’s the holdup?
Koller said that concerns about Digital Rights Management (DRM) are part of the problem. The company is trying to find the best way to protect movies from being pirated. Sony has always been big on DRM.”
Has Sony not learned any lessons? The DRM will be cracked within weeks, everything they make available will be around for free, and the entire thing will be a waste of effort.
After giving out an apology to Jason Calacanis yesterday which was peppered with more caveats that you see at the bottom of an offer for free broadband, Dave Winer is now saying that “if he were a mensch” Jason would be apologising to him. And Google. And Nick Denton. And everyone at Gnomedex.
Dave, word of advice: apologising about something, then the next day demanding an apology from the person you apologised to, makes you look silly and petty, and makes your apology look insincere. Just saying.
I actually couldn’t imagine any circumstances when I could have written a better paragraph than this one from Charles Arthur:
“The fact is that, not to be rude, you don’t get journalism. It is not the same as deciding you know what someone thinks. The blogosphere thinks it knows stuff. It ‘knew’ there would be an iPhone API. It ‘knew’ Apple wouldn’t use Intel chips. (Remember?) The Wall Street Journal didn’t turn to the blogosphere on the latter to find out the truth. And so it got the correct story first.”
The point about Intel chips is pretty close to my heart. For years, my friend Matthew Rothenberg was pilloried by the Mac blogosphere for his story on Marklar, the project – initiated in 2001 – to port Mac OS X to Intel. I knew Matthew was right and the blogosphere was wrong, because I know Matthew and what a fine journalist he is.
Yet the constant abuse Matthew took from Mac fans who knew categorically that Apple would never move to Intel was, in my opinion, disgusting and something which many of those blow-hards have never apologised for. Even smart Mac observers like John Gruber were adamant that Apple would not move, because there was no efficient PowerPC emulator for Intel. In fact, of course, there was just such an emulator being developed by a company in Manchester called Transitive. Some journalists were, even at this point, on to Transitive – I spoke to Think Secret’s Nick dePlume about trying to get a handle on what Transitive was doing back in 2003, but neither of us could nail down enough information to get a story out of it.
The fact was, Matthew was right and the naysayers were wrong – and the reason that he was right because, instead of assuming he knew what was happening and writing some kind of “educated opinion” column, Matthew did the research, made the calls, talked to the right sources and got the confirmation that he needed to run with his story. He didn’t “know” that Apple wouldn’t move to Intel – and that’s why he got the best scoop in Mac journalism in the past ten years.
And that, in short, is the difference between a blogger and a journalist. If you’re asking questions of people and writing on the basis of their answers, you’re a journalist. If you’re writing based on what you think you know, you’re a blogger.
I’ve really avoided all comments on “The Sticker Guy” because the whole thing seemed, sneery, snobbish on the part of the Apple “cognoscenti” and generally irritating. Bobbie Johnson actually sums up my thoughts better than I could in his post “Internet grump #1: The Sticker Guy“:
“What nonsense that a guy gets dumped on for asking a question. It wasn’t even a rude question (’Steve Jobs, some people have said you are an asshole – what do you think?’) just one that didn’t want to hear the answer to – because they already a had a good idea what the answer was.
Therefore the very of asking a basic question at a press conference becomes tantamount to heresy. That’s pretty much the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.”
I’ve been to dozens of press conferences where questions that I thought were dumb elicited some very good – and occasionally very funny – answers.
But the other important thing to note is that these events involve a lot of different journalists, writing for a lot of different people – many of whom aren’t part of the cult of Apple, and who don’t know why a machine with an Intel processor doesn’t have the familiar “Intel Inside” sticker on it. Some of them – speak this quietly, for it is heresy – won’t know who Steve Jobs is, or give a toss about what a superb marketing man he is.
And, as Bobbie says, these events tend to be dominated by fawning members of the cult of Mac, who ask only the kind of questions which Jobs can answer with two words – and which, to be honest, obviously bore him.
“Unfortunately at events like that one, every journalist is following their own agenda (Bill says he is writing an article about Intel Inside) and so they don’t really take much notice . There are mainstream journalists, broadcasters, trade press, business mags, the whole gamut. And, this being Apple who – quite rightly – have many fans, there are too many softballs.
‘Stupid’ questions are part and parcel of the deal. We’re writing for audiences who don’t know everything (a fact usually ignored by snobbish specialist readers). We want to get quotes. We don’t get access to these guys every day (I was at a Jobs Q&A in London in April, but before that it was when I interviewed him a couple of years ago). Every so often a stupid question deals up a brilliant answer.”
Amen to that.
UPDATE: Charles Arthur sums it up extremely well:
“Before you go on, did you *know* what the answer was before the question was asked? That is, did you know *why* Apple was turning down the marketing benefits that accrue to companies which use the Intel Inside sticker – which are substantial? Pause, and answer honestly.
If you didn’t absolutely know why, you were wrong to pillory him. That means Gruber and Macuser, Macalope and others. You didn’t know. You assumed. You guessed. You presumed. That ain’t factual journalism. It’s jackass-y to take the piss out of someone who’s doing a better job than you. (In fact, I call on Gruber to recall his Jackass award. Investigation is never jackassery.)”
(Via bojo Feedburner.)
Ogilvy’s Rory Sutherland posts on Why every single digital agency in the world is a failure:
“I cannot think of a single case where a brand has created something of lasting value online (I obviously exclude the more obvious transactional mechanisms here – online check-in, Tesco.com, etc) which had more than a flash-in-the-pan entertainment value.
Not a single Facebook application has been created by a brand – at least not yet…. and as far as I know no major brand has created a widget or a gadget. The greatest ever mobile application was never supported by a brand – and seems to have disappeared – while millions have been spent by those same brands creating silly handset games or whatever.”
Although some of the commenters give a few counter examples (Nike+, for one) I think Rory’s point is largely correct – but the fault lies with the failure of agencies to push their clients toward more creative, more innovative solutions. One of the things that I’ve seen a lot of in the world of agencies is “yes men” – account people who are simply not prepared to push or challenge the client, and for whom the client is never wrong (and woe betide any person at the agency who tells the client they’re wrong).
To my mind, that’s a complete failure on the agency’s part. The client isn’t hiring you to say yes: they’re hiring you for your expertise. If all you do is say yes to whatever the client demands, what value are you adding to the process? Nothing except some very expensive implementation work.
There have been several occasions when I’ve been in the position of having to explain to a client that their idea is unworkable or simply wrong, and what I’ve found is that as long as you do it in the right way they end up respecting you more and everyone has a better product. It’s all part of engaging and exciting the client about the creative process, making them part of it. And that, to me, is part of the fun of dealing with clients: taking them on a journey which ends with a piece of work which everyone can be proud of, and which gives the customer something cool.
There’s nothing like a blog spat to start a Sunday, and Dave Winer’s yelling at Jason Calacanis in the middle of his Gnomedex presentation has certainly kicked off a good one.
To summarise, Jason gave a presentation about Mahalo, his human-powered search engine which, he hopes, will ultimately compete with Google. Dave was attending, and started interrupting the presentation, yelling from the back that this was “conference spam”.
Dave then posted on his blog that Mahalo was “not my cup of tea” because it wasn’t a platform – instead, it was a product which Jason and his investors can make money on. Jason responded, quite mildly in my view, addressing Dave’s issues and talking about his future plans for an API and content licensing. Dave claimed that this post was “mostly personal”, and, according to Jason, then went on in a face-to-face discussion to inform him they were no longer friends:
“I’m sad, but somewhat relieved, that Dave told me our friendship is over. He informed me of this in his third berating session of me in 24 hours, this time at the end of lunch. I’m not interested in having someone berate me like this, and I’m certainly not interested in having him berate people at the TechCrunch20 conference. If I made a mistake yesterday and was too promotional for the tone of the event I’m sorry as I explained above (right now i’ve have ~40 folks tell me I did a great job, and two including Dave say it was too promotional). Good luck to you Dave, it was nice spending time with you over the past couple of years.”
The whole thing seems remarkable in many ways, because Jason – a man not noted for suffering fools gladly – remains calm and reasonable throughout the discourse. His fundamental point is completely reasonable:
“However, my point about Dave’s approach to yelling at people in the middle of their presentations (which is an ongoing trend) and talking about your products being “spam” remain the same. Yell at someone while they are presenting–even if you disagree with them–is not cool. We had a spirited Q&A session that was very productive. That is the time for such behavior.”
I’ve noticed this kind of childish behaviour – yelling at people in presentations, a lack of courtesy, and organising “pile-ons” – amongst the tech community (lord knows, I’ve been guilt of it too). I’m not surprised at Dave, but I think Jason is to be commended on how he’s handled himself here. To lose a friendship over a disagreement is sad, for both parties. Hopefully Dave will change his mind at some point in the future.
I’m currently downloading what will ultimately total around 1.5Gb of email into Mail. Let’s see if it can cope.
Joe Wilcox gives Windows Vista a term report – and finds its performance wanting:
“To be absolutely, unequivocally clear, major analyst firms like Gartner, IDC and NPD say that Vista has had no perceptible impact on PC sales. None. A successful operating system would create PC sales pull. Vista is anything but. Microsoft can spew off about license shipments all it wants—now more than 60 million for Vista—but counting means little when the majority of PCs ship with the operating system anyway. That’s not a customer choice, but the option presented to buyers.”
I have to agree with Joe. I’ve been using Windows Vista a little more often lately, as I had to transfer my iTunes library to the Vista machine (it has a bigger hard drive, for the moment, than the Mac). Vista isn’t bad, but it’s too complex and there are too many issues with it – months after release, graphics drivers are still only in beta from some manufacturers.