EDITOR’S NOTE: This post was originally published in July 2011. I’m reposting as a courtesy to the readers who arrived here after googling Ms. Feiss. 

It’s amazing the distractions a student can find doing research on YouTube. I stumbled on one of Apple’s 2002 “Switch” adsTBWA\Chiat\Day‘s followup campaign to 1998′s “Think Different.” The “Switch” ads, directed by Errol Morris, supposedly featured real people who had switched from a PC to a Mac, “telling their story in their own words,” according to the press release. The ads were simple, shot against a white background, and were ripe for parodying

In this clip, high school student Ellen Feiss tells us how she lost a “really good paper” while working on her PC. And although the success of the “Switch” campaign has been debated,  it’s nine years later and I remember Ellen Feiss and her paper. I bet others do, too — which should settle any question over the campaign’s success.

Consider this: It’s hard to remember in 2011 how difficult that sort of imprint would have been to achieve for Apple, despite its re-emergence in the market the late 1990s with the iMac G3. PCs still ruled in 2002; the iPod — having been released only in late 2001 — had not yet saturated mainstream society. There was no iPhone. Tech was not that personal yet. The term “viral marketing” wasn’t used in everyday conversation. YouTube was still three years away. Even so, Apple and Morris got our attention and piqued our curiosity: “Have you seen the new Apple ad? What’s up with that girl? Is she real? Is she high?” Despite the speculation, we were interested in what she had to say — and we knew the brand she was promoting and still do.

Swhipy screen shot  (By J. Barrineau)

Swhipy screen shot
(By J. Barrineau)

After several frustrating months of not being able to manage my iPhone’s playlists on the go, I have found a $2 solution that allows me to create playlists from playlists: Swhipy by JYPApps. It’s an understated app that’s worth every damn cent and then some, and it’s as close to being what I would consider a New Year miracle.

My joyful purchase was all part of an effort to manage my large music library — MUSIC THAT I HAVE PAID FOR — following my switch to an iPhone 5S (64GB) with iOS 7. When I discovered the loss of functionality in the iOS 7 Music app, I turned to the Apple discussion forums, where other dismayed music enthusiasts were also registering their puzzlement and complaints. Based on several users’ recommendations, I also downloaded Ecoute ($2.99) and Lagu (free). These are interesting alternatives to the abomination that is the Music app, but they didn’t do what I needed them to do, which is build playlists from other playlists on the go. (Side note: Ecoute is the app for you if you’re suffering through the Music app’s disastrous sorting issues. Meanwhile, Lagu is interesting because of its “queue” feature, but there’s something missing. If you try to save a playlist, you’re prompted to type a title for the playlist, but the keyboard doesn’t appear. Oh well, it’s free.)

It’s no secret that Apple shit the bed with the release of iOS 7 – I will NOT call it an “upgrade” — but the changes to the Music app were particularly painful for music lovers. (Editor’s note: I have understated this on purpose because it’s not as though we’ve been fed alive to starving dogs or anything.) I realize this is a “first world problem” of the first degree. It’s also a pocketbook issue: Consumers who have paid for their music should have the right to manage their music on their terms.  And this isn’t a learning curve, as some bloggers would suggest. No, I’m talking about a loss of functionality and flaccid user experience that underscore Apple’s blatant disregard for its loyal customers who built the megadynasty that is iTunes. I mean, really: Would we have bought so much music if they hadn’t made it so easy to enjoy?

Why Apple would remove so much functionality from its native app is baffling. And yeah, I’ve read about the efforts for a “more simplistic” design — and that’s just bullshit. It’s one thing to simplify an icon; it’s another to simplify an application to the point of frustrating the user with radical limitations. There’s nothing simple about plumbing the depths of a gazillion-song library to find JUST ONE SONG. And, finally, if this sick-making overhaul is part of some coked-up marketing scheme to drive me to iTunes Radio, then that’s just evil.

Writers helping writers

Posted: December 31, 2013 in Miscellaneous

I write and get by with a little help from my friends.

Why I don’t blog much anymore

Posted: December 23, 2013 in Miscellaneous

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I don’t blog much anymore because there aren’t enough hours in the day, and I’m neck-deep in this project.

And it’s just too much fun. Check it out and then sign up using your Facebook or Google+ account, and then upload and share your best original photos and videos. You can tell your own story — or contribute to one of USA TODAY’s stories. Your Take is only about a week old, so keep that in mind.  We’re not quite sure what this is going to be, but we really love how it’s starting to look and the people that we’re getting to know.

After you’ve signed up, be sure to check us out on FacebookTwitter, Instagram — and of course, our beautiful Tumblr.

 

HeadGames1

Image  —  Posted: November 18, 2013 in Miscellaneous

Meet Rondo

Meet Rondo, an affectionate 75-pound shepherd-hound mix in Arlington, Va., area who needs a loving forever home. He lost his family when they could no longer afford to feed him. Submissive and friendly, he would do well in a family with children. Rondo is housebroken and crate trained, and he’s receptive to training. Even so, he still has a few puppylike traits.

Rondo has been neutered, and his shots are up to date.

Read more about Rondo here.

(Dog lovers, please reblog. Thanks.)

Image  —  Posted: September 29, 2013 in Northern Virginia, pet adoptions
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I believe the last half of 2012 would have been better for me — a different ballgame entirely — if I had seen this 20-minute TED Talk by Jane McGonigal on game-playing, deathbed regrets and her carefully calculated theory that promises an extra 7.5 minutes of life.

Video  —  Posted: August 14, 2013 in Miscellaneous