Tiger Notes

I made it to the university computer retailer 5 minutes before they closed to pick up a new copy of Mac OSX Tiger. The stayed open until 7pm tonight in order to meet demand for customers who insisted on picking up a copy of the OS on its launch date. So far I’m pretty impressed, but I wouldn’t be if I had to pay the $129 retail price (I was able to nab it for $69 on an education discount). Spotlight is by far the best feature, and will be particularly useful once I start transferring and backing up a lot of files from my notebook to my Mac-Mini.

AppleInsider has some interesting notes on both Tiger and iWork:

Based on an analysis of data and information, we believe Apple in the US has shipped upwards of a quarter million retail copies of Mac OS X 10.4 “Tiger” to its retail stores and Apple authorized resellers in preparation for tonight’s Tiger launch event.

Sources close to the company said the average Apple retail store is expecting to have 1000 copies of Tiger on hand, while flagship locations, such as the company’s SoHo store in Manhattan, have reportedly been stocked with 5000 copies. Additionally, stores are receiving a hundred or so Tiger drop-in kits for preexisting Apple desktop computers in inventory and a few dozen mini drop-in kits for existing Mac minis.

Dare we say it, but Microsoft will love it — iWork sales have become so sluggish that Apple is literally inventing ways to pull sales of the product out of the doldrums.

After an initial modest response, sales of the software have been described as nothing short of “horrible.” Most retail stores AppleInsider spoke to conceded to only moving a handful of copies each week, if that.

I noticed that Apple included a demo version of iWork alongside my copy of Tiger. I feel more reluctant to install it now, though.

This is a headline from a CNN article today:

iPod blamed for spike in subway crime

Is it me, or is this is like saying all that pesky cash is to blame for that bank heist, or that a mini skirt is responsible for rape?

Perhaps a better story would be that there is a spike in the number of people getting robbed on NYC subways. Or maybe better, there has been a drastic decrease in the quality of news articles on CNN.

A Note on Podcasts

The political structure of the blogosphere isn’t kind. Largely, users who are serious about creating a powerful blog factor for traffic their blog receives over a certain period. High traffic dictates that you are indeed a cool kid on the block. There are literally millions of us who wait for a handout from one the big people: instapundit, boing boing, dailykos, little green footballs, and so on. A link from one of these bloggers can generate wildly high traffic patterns to a blog. These granddaddies of blogging have been around awhile – long before blogging became hip during last year’s presidential race (forgive me for not considering those with vanity blogs or who simply run photo-essay or recipes on their blogs who could care less about traffic).

These people are the big guns because they’ve been around for a while. Several years ago, if you found someone who knew what a blog was and mentioned the word to them, they would likely think of one of these sites. Being the first to explore a medium has its advantages, to say the least.

So now comes podcasting. At last count, ipodder was tracking slightly over 5000 registered podcasts. But, again we have only a select few – usually pioneers who receive god-like status: Adam Curry (The Godfather of Podcasting), Dawn and Drew, Illinoise, Coverville, etc. Their popularity is measured by votes on the mainstream podcast feeders like ipodder and podcast alley. Therefore, while we have thousands of podcasts, we now have a top 10 list of podcasts, who dominate the feeders. As a result, podcasters are begging for votes on their podcasts so hopefully they can appear in the top 50 or top 100 podcast lists. This becomes a problem when you consider that the top rakings may not be based on quality of podcasts, but how persuasive someone is to getting their friends or listeners to vote for them. So now, we’re creeping up on the same patterns that exist with blogging: a few select podcasters who throw handouts to the masses who are begging for links or mentions.

A cure for this would be a more streamlined way of measuring quality of content on a podcast. Subjective, I know, but it might work. Voting for top podcasts is democratic and good, but it’s a slippery slope considering all the ways voting can be manipulated considering the rusty beta technology found in ipodder and podcast alley, etc. How about measuring traffic patterns to popular podcasts? Word of mouth travels faster and more efficiently than mere mentions and links within podcasts and blogs. Either way, the system as it is now is problematic. I would hate to see a select few dominate the podcastophere based simply on timing and manipulation of votes. The early birds will get the podcast worm, either way, but it would help to have a better way to disseminate and measure quality of content, rather than simply relying on faulty means.

Online Music Suppliers Have Room to Grow

Rob Pegaroro, on the two year anniversary of Apple’s iTunes music service, outlines what still needs to be done in the online music business:

• A full selection of artists: No matter what legit store you shop at, you won’t find any albums by the Beatles or Led Zeppelin, among others. Just what are these bands — or their lawyers — waiting for? News flash: The Internet is not going away, any more than the CD was 20 years ago.

• Competition on price: A buck a song (88 cents a song in Wal-Mart’s case) is a fair price, and I’m certainly not in favor of that going any higher. But what if a label or an artist wants to sell a song for less than that? Why can’t an independent record label, with far lower marketing and production costs than a major label, choose to sell its songs for, say, 50 cents each? What about offering cut-rate prices on back-catalogue material to goose its sales? Aside from temporary promotions, such as free-song giveaways, that has yet to happen.

• A way to transfer purchases to other people: Right now, transferring an individual song from the buyer to somebody else — which is completely your right with a CD — is not possible unless you go through the workaround of burning the song to an audio CD, then copying the song back to your computer in some other, unrestricted format. All you can do is transfer an entire collection by giving the lucky recipient your account log-in and password.

• A choice of software and hardware: Apple is the worst offender here: Without the use of unlicensed hacks (or that burn-to-CD-then-re-rip workaround), a song file downloaded off the iTunes store can be played only on hardware or software from Apple. Period. If you want to take that file with you, you’ll need to listen to it on an iPod. If you want to send it wirelessly from computer to stereo, you must use Apple’s AirPort Express WiFi adapter.