J's Page

Originally established for times when I needed more than 140 characters to finish a thought on marketing or media.


FLASHBACK: Remember Ellen Feiss? From Apple’s ‘Switch’ campaign?

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.


How to manage playlists on the go in iOS 7: Buy Swhipy

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.


Look, Ma! Do-it-yourself MacBook Pro repair

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About six months ago, I tripped on a running shoe and stepped on the case of my MacBook Pro, cracking the glass. The MacBook was less than a year old at the time, and a repair through Apple was going to cost me more than I wanted to spend.

 

I’m going to fix it myself!

 

Years ago, I was a systems analyst, which was a fancy name for a girl geek who did everything from software training to server upkeep. I also maintained more than 50 laptops for a national news organization, so I had seen my share of abused laptops; they usually weren’t mine, though. If I had cracked my display in 2003, I would have fixed it myself. So why not now?

I did some googling, found a place that sells MacBook glass, bought the panel, a tool kit and a special suction cup. Then I let all that shit sit in the Amazon boxes for three months — until the other day when I got up the nerve to do the repair.

I watched a couple of YouTube videos that explained the complications of replacing the displays on the Unibody models, and I finally settled on one by Small Dog Electronics, an Apple reseller and Mac repair shop in Waitsfield, Vt. The tech in the video was clear, concise and careful. She was precise in her message, explaining this was not a beginner’s repair and urging caution and patience. She was right; it was not. Although I succeeded in replacing my glass panel, I did not need to replace the LCD — and if I had, I’m not sure whether I would have attempted it. If you do, and if you’re thinking of replacing it yourself, heed the advice of Small Dog Electronics and consider having a pro do it. Watch the video, which has a second part, and see for yourself.
 


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When trivial became good again: On iPods, 9/11, and Steve Jobs

iPod Classic by Aaron Logan

In 2011, it’s hard sometimes to remember there was life before Facebook or iPhones. It’s hard to remember that one had to sit down at a computer and log into an email account rather than having the messages delivered to a smartphone in a pocket. It’s hard to remember the once-coveted music compact discs and their portable players, and it’s nearly impossible to remember music was once played by a moving stylus on a plastic disk with grooves. And although new names make headlines every day, a look at the past decade’s nearly frenzied embrace of technology shows the influence, the reach of Steve Jobs.

Although I had used Apples and Macs at school and work for years, Apple gave me my first real taste of truly personal tech in 2001. Shortly after 9/11, the news service where I worked received two supercool-looking gadgets from Apple they wanted us to test drive and write about. It was called an iPod, and its 5GB hard drive held “1,000 songs in your pocket.” (A 1,000 songs?!! Really?!!) I got to take one home and play with it — and I played with it for hours, which turned into days.  After my test drive, I was able to pre-order one. I was one of the first people in America to own an iPod. It’s probably my greatest achievement.
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Steve Jobs: R.I.P. 1955-2011

 

UPDATE 10-06-2011: I say goodbye — and thanks

 

Steve Jobs: R.I.P.

UPDATE 7:59 p.m.: The Wall Street Journal story

 

UPDATE 8:13 p.m.: WSJ interactive timeline of Steve Jobs’ life

 

UPDATE: #iSad trending on Twitter

 

UPDATE: Twitter mourns a genius

 


Amazon’s new Fire heats up tablet race

Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) unveiled the Kindle Fire on Wednesday, a 7-inch tablet that The Wall Street Journal says could be Apple’s “biggest” challenger to the almighty iPad.  Kindle, Kindle Touch 3G and Kindle Fire; courtesy of Amazon Press RoomMuch like iPad’s Android competitors, the Kindle Fire’s price is sure to compel consumers to give it a second look: It’s priced at an attractive $199; the cheapest iPad2 is $499.

The Kindle Fire was just part of Amazon’s growing Kindle family: Also announced were a lighter, cheaper Kindle ($79), the Kindle Touch ($99) and the Kindle Touch 3G ($149). Read the full news release about the Kindle family here.

The Amazon Kindle Fire at a glance:

  • Weight: 14.6 ounces (413 grams)
  • Size: 7.5″ x 4.7″ x 0.45″ (190 mm x 120 mm x 11.4 mm)
  • 1024 x 600P resolution at 169PPI
  • 8GB on-board memory
  • Battery Life: Up to 8 hours of reading or 7.5 hours of video playback, with wireless off.
  • Full charge in approx. 4 hours
  • Free cloud storage for all Amazon content
  • Audio: 3.5 mm stereo audio jack, top-mounted stereo speakers
  • Wi-Fi: 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n, or 802.1X standard
  • USB 2.0 port (micro-B connector)
  • Warranty and service: 1 year limited
  • Supported formats: Kindle (AZW), TXT, PDF, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively, Audible (Audible Enhanced (AA, AAX)), DOC, DOCX, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, non-DRM AAC, MP3, MIDI, OGG, WAV, MP4, VP8

EARLIER: Acer Iconia A500: A honey-sweet alternative to iPad? ~J’s Pages, May 26

EARLIER: A honey-sweet alternative to the Xoom? ~ J’s Pages, April 9


Proof that it’s good to get away

In ChelseaEarly Friday, I wrapped up an ecommerce class, tried to forget about work and boarded a train for a much-overdue trip to New York City. This meant I had three hours to kill with no WiFi and zero desire to read the book I had brought along. I was, however, armed with my iPhone, so I snapped graffiti as I saw it along the train tracks. (I was on a speeding train, so some photos were better than others.)

As we walked 13 miles around the city on Saturday, I continued to snap away. I took more than 300 photos over two days; in the interest of my readers’ time, I have heavily edited my collection.

On Flickr: Train track tags & street graffiti

 
 

Near public libraryBubble?Grapes?Caress