Launch Agent

Mac and Unix, Music, Web Tech

Monday, October 16, 2006

A funny switcher

Don't sit under the Apple tree is a funny report on switching to Mac. He's going to be famous for that.
Don't miss Giles Turnbulls answer on oreillynet.
Update: Wil Shipley writes a nice reply too.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

On the dark side of the Zune

I keep hearing about that Zune thing. So let's take a look. I'm not interested in any technical details here, but I think the marketing strategy is worth looking at. ("Welcome to the social").

Music is a social activity, right? Well yes, kind of...if you go to a concert, play in a band or discuss your musical preferences with friends. On the other hand, you are alone: listening to music is a deeply emotional (or maybe analytical) personal experience. It's just you, and how you relate to what you hear. People wouldn't buy music, if it was'nt this way.

Keeping that in mind, what is the social side of the Zune? It's two things:
- You can give a piece of music to your friends, for 3 days.
- You can stream your music to a max of 4 other Zunes.

Let's assume that we all have a Zune, and we're all 13 years old. (Yes, that's important: if you're my age, you don't "share" music with friends, at least not the way Microsoft thinks. I'm only carrying around podcasts on my iPod, and I listen to the kind of music that definitely doesn't work well in MP3 format. I want CD quality or possibly even more.)

OK, so I'm 13 years old and everyone in my class has a Zune. When do I actually stream my music to them? At home, hanging around with my friends? No, of course not. If we're going to use the Zune at all, we're hooking it up to a stereo. Same thing at parties or other outdoor events.

Basically, that leaves us with two situations where streaming/file sharing could be useful: on the road (bus and train) and in school. Lesson breaks are the black market, we're dealing with all kind of stuff here, information, news, homework, food, cell phone photos, music...whatever. Lesson breaks are the best place for viral marketing. "Check this out. Cool." Remember, we're all 13. It's all about building a crowd or a reputation. This is going to work, and it's where Microsoft is going to hurt the iPod.

Live streaming on the other hand is virtually useless. You're not on the bus with your friends all the time. You can't stream "We are the champions" to your football team on the ride home. It's a nice to have feature that is going to be used much less than Microsoft thinks.

Should Apple be worried? Of course. The Zune tries to build a consumer community, Apple should react by putting their efforts in a creative community. Think Podcasts, Garageband, home made movies. Integrate a high quality binaural microphone in the iPod headphones, out of the box. Oh yes, we're going to tape each other all the time. It's a social game. If you can't picture it, think of the success of cell phone cameras.

So what do I think, is WiFi the iPod killer feature?
No, clearly, it isn't.

Friday, October 13, 2006


This is going to be a blog about Apple technologies from the perspective of an end user and system administrator. I only recently discovered Apple's bunch of iApps and I really like to work with them. I hope I can share something useful to others here.
On the other hand, I also admin a couple of XServes, so expect some server/Unix stuff too.