Verizon iPhone Raises New Predicaments

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For as long as the iPhone has been out, I have been opposed to it. Not because of the iPhone per se. In fact, it’s a great looking device with intuitive design. But over the years there have been fundamental flaws that have prevented me from buying it. These flaws, in my mind, have been:

  • Doesn’t allow native apps
  • Apple tries to control too much
  • Not open source
  • AT&T-only
  • Lack of like-kind competition
  • Antenna/reception issues
  • Crappy mic
  • Crappy camera

Photo by Witer

There are other concerns I’ve raised but the reality is, most of this has been resolved now.

For instance, the iPhone 3G introduced the App concept. They’ve put a better mic and camera in. The antenna situation for the iPhone 4, well… that still exists but at least there’s a lifehack to prevent it.

Some things won’t change. The OS will never be open source like Android. That’s probably not a deal-breaker for me. Apple will still try to control how app developers and users use their device, but whatever.

Here’s the thing that changes the paradigm and makes me re-examine my suppositions… Verizon now has the iPhone 4 as of this morning. Presumably, this means no more silly lack of coverage in major metropolitan areas like NYC and San Francisco. Supposedly, that means that events like Inauguration, ACL Fest and SXSW won’t be dark as a result of weak coverage.

And of course, that bodes well for AT&T and their network load as well because, perhaps up to half of their iPhone customer base will migrate to Verizon. Their customers have been clamoring for this day.

But now what do I do? With all of the paradigm shifting, I’m now placed in an awkward position. Should I buy the Verizon iPhone or not?

Updated: I should add… no one knows yet how the iPhone will behave on Verizon’s network. My recommendation is to treat it like all Rev A Apple Hardware… don’t buy it on Day 1 and don’t wait in line. Let the idiot early adopters work out the kinks before jumping in. You’re already probably in a contract so just wait a few minutes.

Best Internet Memes of 2010

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Pants on the Ground

January came in with a roar with American Idol auditions. One audition, General Larry Pratt, sang a ridiculous song “Pants on the Ground”. See the original audition below:

This spawned remixes, covers and even Brett Favre firing up the Minnesota Vikings after winning the NFC Divisional game.

I’m on a Horse

The Old Spice commercial that took the internet by storm because… well, because it was so damn ridiculously funny. The man behind the I’m on a horse commercial is none other than Twitter user @isaiahmustafa.

Funny stuff.

The meme continued when Old Spice did an Old Spice Questions series on YouTube where Isaiah Mustafa took questions from Twitter users and answered them on YouTube.

After Isaiah Mustafa stepped down as the Old Spice spokesman, Baltimore Ravens lineback Ray Lewis stepped in with a hilarity of his own.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxqlw3cKZHA

BPGlobalPR

Leroy Stick (fake name) began the Twitter account @BPGlobalPR as a result of watching for over a month as BP Public Relations people spun bullshit to the general public and government after the catastrophic oil catastrophy in the Gulf of Mexico. The account served several purposes. For one, it helped us laugh when he put out content like these:


The second purpose it served was to draw attention to the horrible way BP managed their reputation and brand. At the TEDxOilSpill event, Stick was quoted as saying, “Having a brand means you stand for something. If you lie, than lying is your brand.”

This account has easily become the most retweeted account in 2010 and it’s devastating in it’s satirical impact.

Double Rainbow

The Double Rainbow Meme was hilarious in its own right. A guy in Yosemite National Park witnessed a double rainbow and proceeds to cry, weep, squeal and ask, “What’s it mean?” on video. The video was shared across the internet and even remixed into an autotuned song.

You’re Holding it Wrong

With the release of the iPhone 4, users complained about lack of reception and dropped calls. In an extraordinary press conference shortly after the release of the phone, Apple CEO Steve Jobs commented on how, if the phone was held a certain way, it would interfere with the built-in antenna. This was echoed by Apple and AT&T Support technicians and the phrase, “You’re holding it wrong” was adopted by the masses.

You’re holding it wrong also became a euphemism for other hilarity throughout 2010.

I’m Pro Choice. I’m Android.

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We in the tech world are a fickle bunch. On one side of our brain, we scream about openness and freedoms. We verbally disparage anyone who would dare mess with our precious Internet freedoms. Many of us, especially in my WordPress community, swear allegiance to licensing that ensures data and code exchanges on open standards.

Yet one thing stands out to me as an anomaly on this, the opening day of pre-orders for the iPhone 4.


Photo by laihiu on Flickr

Ah yes. The iPhone. The gadget that makes grown men quake in their shoes. The thing that causes adults to behave as if they left their brains at the door. At one point in time, I called this behavior “an applegasm” and identified the Apple store as the place where intelligent people go to die.

And it’s not only the iPhone. It’s the iPad too (I bought one 3 weeks after release and only because I needed it for some client work). In fact, it’s any Apple device. Apple has a way of turning people into automatons controlled by the Borg in Cupertino.

Don’t get me wrong. I love Apple and I love Apple products. However, there is a degree of hypocrisy (or shall we call it “situational morality”) that comes into play here. There is nothing “open” about Apple products. Sure, Steve Jobs famously points out that Apple encourages the use of open web standards like HTML5, CSS3 and Javascript, but the devices are nowhere near open.

In fact, the devices are so closed and guarded that strange things like lost stolen iPhone prototypes make huge news. There is only one device. There is only one operating system. There is only one permitted way of designing apps. There is only one carrier (in the United States).

And the open standards, web-free, maniacal tech world that is ready to take off the heads of closed entities like Microsoft, Facebook and Palm, whistle silently and look the other way when it comes to Apple.

In another few weeks, I am going to be eligible for an upgrade with Verizon Wireless. As a longtime BlackBerry user (I refuse to give money to AT&T ever), I will be investing in a new Android-based phone. I won’t be doing this with any kind of religious conviction about open source. There is a legitimate place for closed source in this world. I’m doing this because the culture of openness (which supersedes the execution of openness, in my mind), allows for more innovation and creativity.

In the Android world (which is quickly catching up to the iPhone world), apps are being created without the artificial restrictions placed by a single gatekeeper. There are more choices in phones. Don’t like this one? Try that one. There is a greater anticipation around what can be done.

Apple had to have its arm twisted to enable multitasking in it’s latest operating system. It had to have its arm twisted to allow cut and paste. It still hasn’t provided a decent camera, despite consumers begging for one. In the Android world, if Motorola doesn’t provide it, maybe HTC does. You have choice. Choice is good.

I’m pro choice.